Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Insight for returning troops and their relationships

Date:
August 31, 2011
Source:
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Summary:
Returning service members are at a greater risk of both depressive symptoms and relationship distress, and research shows the two often go together. In a survey of 220 service members, researchers found that relational uncertainty and partner interference showed up as mediators linking depressive symptoms and relationship distress.

Troops overseas often want nothing more than to get back home to loved ones -- but the reunion period often can be more emotionally taxing than the deployment.

Returning service members are at a greater risk of both depressive symptoms and relationship distress, and research shows the two often go together, says University of Illinois researcher Leanne Knobloch (pronounced kuh-NO-block). That's not a good thing, since someone suffering from depressive symptoms "really needs the support of their romantic partner."

In a study published in August in the Journal of Family Psychology, in a special issue on military families, Knobloch, a professor of communication, and co-author Jennifer Theiss, a professor of communication at Rutgers University, offer some advice for returning service members: Recognize the uncertainties you might have about the relationship and address them.

And anticipate sources of interference from your spouse or partner in everyday life and routines, and attempt to resolve them.

Those were two issues that showed up in their study as "mediators" linking depressive symptoms and relationship distress, Knobloch said.

"These may be pathways through which people's depressive symptoms make them dissatisfied or unhappy with their relationships."

They may help explain why depressive symptoms and relationship distress are connected, she said, "and the why is important because it suggests how to attack the problem, how to break the link."

Knobloch emphasized that having questions or uncertainty about a relationship is not unusual for those with depressive symptoms.

"People with depressive symptoms have a tendency to question everything in their lives," she said.

Feelings of interference from a partner are also not unusual, she said, given that each person has grown accustomed to doing things on their own during the deployment.

The study's conclusions fit with a model of relational turbulence that Knobloch and others have created to understand transitions in relationships. The study also is one of several in a line of research Knobloch and Theiss have conducted with military couples and their families, with other papers in press or under review.

The study was based on a one-time online survey of 220 service members -- 185 men and 35 women from 27 states who had been home less than six months from their last deployments. Of the total, 64 percent were in the National Guard and 28 percent in the Army, with the Air Force, Marines and Navy each representing 3 percent or less. Fifty-seven percent had completed multiple deployments.

Participants were solicited through fliers circulated at reintegration workshops, through online forums, and contacts with military chaplains, family readiness officers and other military personnel.

The authors found that distress in the relationship was no more or less likely for couples who had been through multiple deployments versus those who had been through just one.

"Military couples often say that every deployment is different," Knobloch said.

They did find, however, that distress was more likely among those in the latter part of their six months after return, which fits with research by others.

"Our findings are important because returning service members and their partners sometime think that the transition home is going to be a honeymoon period where everything is just romance and roses," Knobloch said. "They can be disillusioned if they run into obstacles."

They might be better prepared for the potential upheaval, however, "if they recognize that it's a normal part of the process, that many couples go through it and it doesn't mean your relationship is not good," she said.

"Depression is a really hard thing, and if people can separate their relationship problems from the depression itself, then they're a step ahead," Knobloch said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Leanne K. Knobloch, Jennifer A. Theiss. Depressive symptoms and mechanisms of relational turbulence as predictors of relationship satisfaction among returning service members.. Journal of Family Psychology, 2011; 25 (4): 470 DOI: 10.1037/a0024063

Cite This Page:

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Insight for returning troops and their relationships." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110831160218.htm>.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (2011, August 31). Insight for returning troops and their relationships. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110831160218.htm
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Insight for returning troops and their relationships." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110831160218.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Researchers say women who diet at a young age are at greater risk of developing harmful health habits, including eating disorders and alcohol abuse. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins