Connecting experiences of community shared responsibility and collective competence to the well-being of adults in military families
O’Neal, C. W., Mancini, J. A., & Bowne, G. L. (2020). Connecting experiences of community shared responsibility and collective competence to the well-being of adults in military families. Journal of Community Psychology, 48(5), 1637-1650. https://doi.org/10.1002/jcop.22357
Abstract Created by REACH:
The social organization theory of action and change (SOAC) focuses on how change occurs within communities and is especially concerned with community capacity for change. Two elements of community capacity are (1) shared responsibility (i.e., considering the well-being of other people rather than oneself) and (2) collective competence (i.e., abilities demonstrated as a community either to maintain community well-being or to make a difference during times of adversity). The SOAC hypothesizes that there are four types of communities that stem from these two elements: synergetic (high in both), able (high in competence, low in responsibility), relational (high in responsibility, low in competence), and disengaged (low in both). Using a sample of 266 couples consisting of an active-duty (AD) Service member and their civilian partner/spouse (henceforth, spouse), this study examined how participants’ perceptions of their community’s shared responsibility and collective competence were associated with individual well-being (i.e., anxiety, depressive symptoms, self-efficacy, and life satisfaction) after accounting for military transitions (e.g., permanent change of station) and rank. The results revealed that well-being is generally highest for those in synergetic communities and lowest for those in disengaged communities.
Branch of Service:
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)
Aged (65 yrs & older)
Very old (85 yrs & older)
O'Neal, Catherine W., Mancini, Jay A., Bowen, Gary L.
Drawing from the social organization theory of action and change, the role of community-capacity elements (shared responsibility and collective competence) for military members' and their civilian spouses' well-being is examined. With data from 266 active-duty military families, military members and their spouses are classified by theory-based community-capacity type. A path analysis examines associations between community types, elements of military context (rank and transitions), and dimensions of well-being (anxiety, depressive symptoms, self-efficacy, life satisfaction). There were few variations in community capacity across rank and transitions. For military members' and their civilian spouses, community types were differentially associated with well-being, particularly in disengaged and synergetic communities. Well-being was generally highest for those in synergistic communities (high shared responsibility and collective competence) and lowest in disengaged communities (low shared responsibility and collective competence). Findings inform intervention and prevention efforts seeking to activate communities as a mechanism for fostering well-being.
John Wiley & Sons
Department of Human Development and Family Science, The University of Georgia, CWO
Department of Human Development and Family Science, The University of Georgia, JAM
School of Social Work, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, GLB
capacity, community, mental health, military families, well-being
REACH Publication Type:
National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Grant Number: 2009‐48680‐06069