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Study offers insight for returning troops and their relationships
Date:8/31/2011

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. 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 conc
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Contact: Craig Chamberlain
cdchambe@illinois.edu
217-333-2894
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Source:Eurekalert

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