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

lusions 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
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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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