Distraction During Deployment: Marital Relationship Associations With Spillover for Deployed Army Soldiers

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College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Psychology


Military spouses often have concerns regarding the impact of their communication on soldiers during deployment. However, literature is mixed regarding how communication between soldiers and spouses may impact soldiers’ self-reported work functioning during deployment, suggesting the need to evaluate moderating factors. In the current study, 3 relationship factors (marital satisfaction, conflictual communication, and proportion of conversation focused on problems) were tested as moderators of communication frequency and negative marriage-to-work spillover for soldiers. Whereas the 3 relationship factors were independently related to negative spillover, none significantly moderated the relationship between communication frequency and spillover. The overall pattern of results suggests that (a) lower marital satisfaction, a focus on problems during communication, and conflictual communication are each strongly linked to spillover for deployed soldiers; and (b) military couples may be self-restricting deployment communication frequency when experiencing less marital satisfaction and higher rates of negative communication. Implications for communication during deployment are discussed.

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