Everything Here is Fine: Protective Buffering by Military Spouses During a Deployment

Publication Date


Document Type


Organizational Units

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Psychology


Protective buffering, Romantic relationship, Military, Deployment, Communication


To minimize potential distractions for deployed military service members (SMs), some nondeployed romantic partners have reported engaging in protective buffering, or intentionally withholding information or concerns to protect their deployed partner. This study assessed the associations of protective buffering and psychological distress and marital satisfaction for military couples during and after deployment. Additionally, the study explored whether protective buffering was related to SM reports of being distracted during deployment by family matters. A total of 54 couples provided data before, during, and after an Army deployment. In multilevel models, higher protective buffering by partners was associated with higher psychological distress and lower marital satisfaction for both SMs and partners during, but not after, deployment. Additionally, partners reported frequent use of protective buffering during deployment; however, protective buffering was not significantly correlated with family related distraction for SMs during deployment. Limitations and implications of these findings are discussed.

Publication Statement

Copyright held by author or publisher. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

This document is currently not available here.