Event Title

Marital Mental Health Conversations in Military Families: Dilemmas Faced in Necessary Conversations

Mentor 1

Erin Parcell

Mentor 2

Brittnie Peck

Location

Union Wisconsin Room

Start Date

28-4-2017 1:30 PM

End Date

28-4-2017 4:00 PM

Description

Brittnie Peck (PhD candidate, Communication, bspeck@uwm.edu), Westly Klasen (SURF student, WGSS major/COM minor, wmklasen@uwm.edu), and Dr. Erin Parcell (Communication, eparcell@uwm.edu)
This study expands on existing research examining dilemmas experienced by military service members and their families when it comes to having conversations about mental health concerns following deployment. The current analysis focused on understanding post-deployment interactions that take place between service members and their spouses. The study utilized semi-structured, qualitative interviews of fifty U.S. military service members and their spouses (n = 100). The authors analyzed interview transcripts by looking for previously identified dilemmas as well as emergent themes in the current data. While the interviews addressed a variety of topics, the present analysis focused on the portion of the interviews inquiring about whether or not the service member, their spouse, or children have ever sought mental health services for dealing with the stressors of deployment, and if so, how did the families talk with one another about it. In answering these questions, service members and spouses addressed dilemmas faced around talking about mental health within their families (e.g., wanting to talk about their mental health concerns but being concerned the other person would not understand them). Participants reported feeling dilemmas that were located in the individual (self and/or other) as well as their relationship. The reasons for these conversations being sites of communicative dilemmas varied, and most participants discussed multiple reasons. Some feared disrupting their re-integration period, others desired to shield their partner from additional stress, and many reported feeling incapable of understanding their partner's deployment experiences. One of the key elements of this research is its capacity to translate into real-world strategies for effectively addressing mental health concerns within military families following deployment. We strongly encourage the recognition of these communicative dilemmas by not only military family members but those who support them (e.g., chaplains, counselors, and supervisors).

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Apr 28th, 1:30 PM Apr 28th, 4:00 PM

Marital Mental Health Conversations in Military Families: Dilemmas Faced in Necessary Conversations

Union Wisconsin Room

Brittnie Peck (PhD candidate, Communication, bspeck@uwm.edu), Westly Klasen (SURF student, WGSS major/COM minor, wmklasen@uwm.edu), and Dr. Erin Parcell (Communication, eparcell@uwm.edu)
This study expands on existing research examining dilemmas experienced by military service members and their families when it comes to having conversations about mental health concerns following deployment. The current analysis focused on understanding post-deployment interactions that take place between service members and their spouses. The study utilized semi-structured, qualitative interviews of fifty U.S. military service members and their spouses (n = 100). The authors analyzed interview transcripts by looking for previously identified dilemmas as well as emergent themes in the current data. While the interviews addressed a variety of topics, the present analysis focused on the portion of the interviews inquiring about whether or not the service member, their spouse, or children have ever sought mental health services for dealing with the stressors of deployment, and if so, how did the families talk with one another about it. In answering these questions, service members and spouses addressed dilemmas faced around talking about mental health within their families (e.g., wanting to talk about their mental health concerns but being concerned the other person would not understand them). Participants reported feeling dilemmas that were located in the individual (self and/or other) as well as their relationship. The reasons for these conversations being sites of communicative dilemmas varied, and most participants discussed multiple reasons. Some feared disrupting their re-integration period, others desired to shield their partner from additional stress, and many reported feeling incapable of understanding their partner's deployment experiences. One of the key elements of this research is its capacity to translate into real-world strategies for effectively addressing mental health concerns within military families following deployment. We strongly encourage the recognition of these communicative dilemmas by not only military family members but those who support them (e.g., chaplains, counselors, and supervisors).