Coming home: A study of the military family interactions and relationships after deployment
This thesis examines familial interactions and relationships between military veterans and their spouses and children after returning from foreign deployment. Although always an overly joyous occasion, post deployment is a transitional process that tends to strain the family system. Five Canadian Forces families were interviewed, fifteen participants in total. Through qualitative interviews, three superordinate themes emerged: Stressors and coping skills, family dynamics, and support networks. Communication with the military member during deployment plays an integral part in the transition back into the family. Communication patterns between family members are one of the determinants in the effectiveness of role and relationship negotiation during the reunion. The effectiveness of relationship renegotiation is also aided by the family’s support system. Informal and formal support networks are crucial in helping military families during and post deployment. However, the effectiveness of reintegration programs requires active consultation with military families in the design and implementation of these programs.