MARITAL SATISFACTION BEFORE AND AFTER DEPLOYMENTS ASSOCIATED WITH THE GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR1

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Abstract

Previously, McLeland and Sutton (2005) assessed marital satisfaction among 46 male civilians and Reserve Component personnel, some of the latter having been alerted for a future deployment. Subsequently, marital satisfaction was also assessed for 74 male Active Component Army personnel who had recently returned from duty in a combat zone. Marital satisfaction scores were compared across personnel status. Mixed results were obtained from an analysis of variance comparing the five subgroups of personnel; however, when the three types of deployment groups were contrasted with the civilian and never-deployed military groups, substantial (ES = 0.55) and significant (p<.005) differences in marital satisfaction were observed. Although exploratory, these data indicate that predeployment and postdeployment situations are stressful for military members and may be associated with lower marital satisfaction for months before and months after a deployment, as well as during the deployment. Furthermore, changes in marital or relationship satisfaction may be more sensitive and timely as indicators of any stressful effects of deployments and separation on military families than changes in marital or relationship stability.

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