(334) 844-3299
Detailed Record
Share this Article

Communicative experiences of military youth during a parent’s return home from deployment

APA Citation:

Knobloch, L. K., Pusateri, K. B., Ebata, A. T., & McGlaughlin, P. C. (2014). Communicative experiences of military youth during a parent’s return home from deployment. Journal of Family Communication, 14(4), 291-309. doi:10.1080/15267431.2014.945701

Abstract Created by REACH:

Researchers conducted interviews with youth of military families to gain an understanding of their experience of parental homecoming after deployment. Themes emerged from the interviews, including the experience of certain changes within the family, youth’s expectations of homecoming, and uncertainties about the past, present, and future.



Branch of Service:

Air Force
Multiple branches

Military Affiliation:

Active Duty

Subject Affiliation:

Child of a service member or veteran


Childhood (birth - 12 yrs)
School age (6 - 12 yrs)
Adolescence (13 - 17 yrs)


Empirical Study
Qualitative Study


Knobloch, Leanne K., Pusateri, Kimberly B., Ebata, Aaron T., McGlaughlin, Patricia C.


The return home of a service member from tour of duty can be stressful for military families (Bowling & Sherman, 2008), but surprisingly little is known about how military youth communicatively experience a parent’s homecoming (MacDermid Wadsworth, 2010). This study draws on the emotional cycle of deployment model (Pincus, House, Christenson, & Adler, 2001) to examine the reunion period in military youth’s own words. Individual interviews were conducted with 31 military youth (age range = 10 to 13 years old). Participants identified four changes to family life (RQ1), including spending time together, experiencing emotional tranquility, returning to patterns in place before deployment, and having difficulty reintegrating the service member into everyday routines. Some military youth reported that the reunion matched their expectations (RQ2), but others noted that the reunion fell short of their expectations or that they did not expect the returning service member to be so tired or so irritable. Participants also described four issues of uncertainty (RQ3), including questions about the service member’s activities during deployment, reasons for joining and deploying, family life, and the possibility of future deployments. The article concludes by examining the theoretical and pragmatic implications of the findings.

Publisher/Sponsoring Organization:

Taylor & Francis

Publication Type:

REACH Publication

Author Affiliation:

Department of Communication, University of Illinois, LKK
Department of Communication, University of Illinois, KBP
Department of Human and Community Development, University of Illinois, ATE
University of Illinois, PCM


communicative experiences, military youth, home, deployment, family

View Research Summary:

REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary


University of Illinois, Family Resiliency Center, US

This website uses cookies to improve the browsing experience of our users. Please review Auburn University’s Privacy Statement for more information. Accept & Close