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Social media and internet-based communication in military families during separation: An international scoping review

APA Citation:

Wood, A., Gray, L., Bowser-Angermann, J., Gibson, P., Fossey, M., & Godier-McBard, L. (2023). Social media and internet-based communication in military families during separation: An international scoping review. New Media & Society, 25(7), 1802-1823. https://doi.org/10.1177/14614448221117767

Abstract Created by REACH:

Social media/internet-based communication (SM/IBC) usually facilitates connectedness among civilian families, but SM/IBC may pose unique challenges for military families. This international review of literature explored how military families used SM/IBC during separation (e.g., deployment) and the impacts of SM/IBC on military families. A 5-stage literature evaluation and translation framework was used to examine 11 empirical articles. Overall, 4 main themes emerged, indicating types and frequency of SM/ IBC with Service members as well as positive and negative effects of SM/IBC on separated military families.


Mental health

Branch of Service:

International Military
Multiple branches

Military Affiliation:

Active Duty

Subject Affiliation:

Military families
Child of a service member or veteran
Spouse of service member or veteran


Childhood (birth - 12 yrs)
Adolescence (13 - 17 yrs)
Young adulthood (18 - 29 yrs)
Adulthood (18 yrs & older)
Thirties (30 - 39 yrs)
Middle age (40 - 64 yrs)


Review of Literature


Wood, Abigail, Gray, Leanne, Bowser-Angermann, Joanne, Gibson, Poppy, Fossey, Matt, Godier-McBard, Lauren


The last decade has seen the growth of social media and Internet-based communication. Recent research highlighted the need for exploration of the use of social media by military families due to the significant period of separation that they experience. On this basis, an international scoping review was undertaken to explore how military families use Internet-based communication and social media to communicate with their serving members and what the impact of this is. The review showed a paucity of research focused specifically on the use of social media by Service families. Overall, papers returned showed that social media and Internet-based communication has distinct benefits for military families, fostering connectedness, increasing potential communication, enabling Serving parents to be more involved and better accommodate their family’s routine, and potentially improving the deployment experience. However, unique practical barriers were also identified, alongside the potential exacerbation challenges associated with traditional forms of communication.

Publisher/Sponsoring Organization:


Publication Type:

REACH Publication

Author Affiliation:

Anglia Ruskin University, AW
Anglia Ruskin University, LG
Anglia Ruskin University, JBA
Anglia Ruskin University, PG
Anglia Ruskin University, MF
Anglia Ruskin University, LGM


separation, communication, social media

View Research Summary:

REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary


This project was funded by the Naval Children’s Charity, UK.

REACH Newsletter:

  October 2022

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