A qualitative inquiry into the dynamics of family reintegration following a deployment



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There are over one million people currently serving in the United States military, with nearly one-half of that amount currently serving in an active duty capacity for the Army. Domestic violence, a hidden social problem, affects many people and is estimated to occur in approximately ten million homes annually. Over the years, there have been reports regarding relationship conflict that transpires within military families, with most conflict occurring before and/or after a deployment. A deployment can range in length from 90 days to over one year, which can put significant stress on the soldier, their family, and other relationships. In this research, I am seeking to understand how deployments and other major events impact soldiers’ personal and home life. Specifically, I seek to explore the issues surrounding soldier and familial reintegration following a deployment. Providing effective programming for soldiers returning home from deployments is also vital, and this project will explore the type of services available to returning soldiers and their families as well as potential improvements that could be made to the current system. This study utilizes a qualitative methodological design wherein in-depth, semi-structured interviews are conducted with a sample of active duty and veteran soldiers and a sample of military mental health personnel. These findings will provide a deeper understanding of the complexities of reintegration and may assist with policy and programmatic changes to better assist those returning home after their deployment.



Military, Mental health, Relationship conflict, Stress, Strain

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Doctor of Philosophy


Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work

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Lisa A. Melander