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“Sometimes, during deployment, it seems like we won’t make it”: U.S. military deployment transition issues as a precursor to couples’ reintegration issues

APA Citation:

Weiss, J. K., & Anzur, C. K. (2024). “Sometimes, during deployment, it seems like we won’t make it”: U.S. military deployment transition issues as a precursor to couples’ reintegration issues. Journal of Family Issues, 45(4), 931-954. https://doi.org/10.1177/0192513X231162968

Abstract Created by REACH:

Informed by the relational turbulence model, this study examined relationship difficulties experienced by military couples during deployment. 124 romantic partners completed an open-ended questionnaire describing past relationship experiences during their Service member partner’s deployment. Responses were assessed with thematic analysis. Overall, 3 main themes emerged that mapped on to key constructs of the relational turbulence model: experiences of relational uncertainty, partner interference, and relational turbulence. These themes align with previous research identifying similar issues faced by couples during reintegration.



Branch of Service:

Air Force
Marine Corps
Coast Guard
Multiple branches

Military Affiliation:

Active Duty

Subject Affiliation:

Active duty service member
Spouse of service member or veteran


Adulthood (18 yrs & older)
Young adulthood (18 - 29 yrs)
Thirties (30 - 39 yrs)
Middle age (40 - 64 yrs)


Qualitative Study


Weiss, Julia K., Anzur, Christine K.


The bulk of the literature on the Relational Turbulence Model relating to U.S. military couples clusters around examining relational turbulence and communication issues when a service member returns from a deployment and reintegrates back into the home. Lacking in comparison is a deeper examination of turbulence and all of its related variables when the service member leaves the home to go on the deployment. The current study examines these components as they relate to overseas military deployment. A thematic analysis of participants? perceptions uncovered major themes of Relational Uncertainty, Partner Interferences, and Relational Turbulence along with several subthemes and additional subtheme-types. If we consider the well-established relational communication issues couples face during reintegrating, these findings suggest that those issues may actually stem from the perceptions of relational turbulence in the initial parts of the deployment cycle during deployment.

Publication Type:

REACH Publication


couples, trauma, reintegration, deployment

View Research Summary:

REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary

REACH Newsletter:

  July 2023

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