Psychoanalytically-informed Reflexive Research with Service Spouses


This book chapter discusses the use of a psychoanalytically-informed research method to explore the emotional experiences of a number of service spouses who accompanied British military personnel to overseas postings. In addition to considering the pros and cons of undertaking this type of ‘reflexive research’ within military communities, the chapter provides a detailed analysis of extracts taken from two interviews conducted with one particular research participant in order to highlight some of the interactions that can occur beneath the surface of research relationships. The chapter argues that paying attention to these ordinarily unnoticed dynamics can uncover research data that would otherwise remain hidden.


This chapter discusses applying a psycho-social, interview-based research methodology to military phenomena. It aims to illustrate the intertwined nature of the research topic and the method used to study it, with the biographies of both the researcher and respondents. Thus, it is a personal account of the research process and it addresses the practicalities of undertaking such emotionally involved, reflexive research. The account includes a case-study of one respondent, 'Sonia', to illustrate the interactional context of the research method as well as the data and analysis that it produces. The chapter also considers how the author's status as a military wife herself might have affected gaining access to the military and its reception of her research findings. Finally, the chapter argues that the emotional responses of service families to the practical, everyday experiences of military life require greater attention and further research.

Full Reference

Jervis, S., 2016,. Psychoanalytically-informed Reflexive Research with Service Spouses. In: A. J. Williams, R. Woodward, K. N. Jenkings and M. F. Rech. Eds. The Routledge Companion to Military Research Methods, pp. 167-179. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.