225 Deployed and Still Communicating

Based on research by Cigrang, J. A., Wayne Talcott, G., Tatum, J., Baker, M., Cassidy, D., Sonnek, S. and Smith Slep, A. M. (2014) written by Mara Rowcliffe, MS.

Do intimate partners use high tech rapid communication to cope with long deployment separation? What impact does couples’ distress have on the military partner’s combat effectiveness?

Psychologists evaluated relationship functioning, depression, and duty performance while deployed. Researchers assessed 140 romantically partnered Air Force members immediately before and during a one-year high-risk deployment to Iraq.

Prior to deployment, a fourth of relationships were distressed increasing to 41% during deployment, though14% improved their relationship. Couples experiencing relationship distress were less likely to communicate while deployed. During deployment, a minority, a third of the Airforce personnel reported relationship distress distracted them and a fifth indicated the distress led to arguments with coworkers or supervisors.

Results showed 61% used texting, 70% used email, 48% webcam, 26% phone calls and a few letters at least weekly. Those in distressed relationships communicated significantly less frequently than the non-distressed.

Distressed relationships and depression may impact your performance and reduce partner communication. During military deployment, allow and plan for high tech frequent communication, often a sign of a positive, happier relationship.

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