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Experiences of U.S. military couples during the post-deployment transition: Applying the relational turbulence model

APA Citation:

Knobloch, L. K., & Theiss, J. A. (2012). Experiences of U.S. military couples during the post-deployment transition: Applying the relational turbulence model. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 29(4), 423–450. doi:10.1177/0265407511431186

Abstract Created by REACH:

The post-deployment period can be difficult for Service members and their spouses. To better understand the difficulties that can arise after deployment, Service members and military spouses completed online questionnaires (e.g., changes to their relationship) regarding their recent reintegration experiences. Results indicated that military couples encountered both challenges (e.g., relationship uncertainty) and opportunities (e.g., closer relationship) during the reintegration period.



Branch of Service:

Air Force
Coast Guard
Marine Corps
Multiple branches

Military Affiliation:

Active Duty

Subject Affiliation:

Active duty service member
Guard/Reserve 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)


Empirical Study
Qualitative Study
Quantitative Study


Knobloch, Leanne K., Theiss, Jennifer A.


Although many military couples eagerly await reunion after deployment, the reentry of service members into family life can be challenging. This study employed the relational turbulence model to identify the issues facing military couples during the post-deployment transition. Individuals who had been reunited with their romantic partner during the past six months (N = 259; 137 service members, 122 partners) completed an online questionnaire. Content analytic results indicated that people encounter diverse changes to their relationship (RQ1), issues of relational uncertainty (RQ2), and interference in their daily routines (RQ3). Women, at-home partners, and reservist couples appear especially likely to encounter upheaval (RQ4). The relational turbulence model may have utility for illuminating the experiences of military couples upon reintegration.

Publisher/Sponsoring Organization:

SAGE Publications

Publication Type:

REACH Publication

Author Affiliation:

Department of Communication, University of Illinois, LKK
Department of Communication, Rutgers University, JAT


interference from partners, military deployment, relational turbulence, relational uncertainty

View Research Summary:

REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary

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