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Communication Amongst Military Families Annotated Bibliography

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Updated: Dec 7th, 2021

This focus of this work is to explore the published literature about military families in order to determine what forms of communication prove successful or unsuccessful. The writer has analyzed each article presented for the types of research preformed as well as the effect that the research either could or did have on these family units. Research articles were chosen that covered a wide variety of topics including ones that specifically focus on the military, as well as communication in large companies and family research. At the conclusion of this paper it is the hope of the writer that the reader have an increased understanding of the difficulties experienced by individuals under contract with the military as well as what forms of communication will decrease these difficulties creating a family unit that enjoys a better rate of adjustment.

The military family has a unique family structure in that at any time depending on the needs of the nation one or more family members can be deployed to distant locations. This research is exploring the effect these deployments had on the family structure. It is an important research study because it examines the effects on the family when the male or female parent deployed and compared those results. The Gulf War provided these researchers with an opportunity to study the effect of long deployments on family structure. These researchers studied the 1992 Survey of Officers and Enlisted Personal to determine the occurrences of divorce and children disability rates. When the male parent deployed there was no statistically significant increase in the divorce rates. When compared to the divorce rates when the female parent deployed there was an increase. This shows that families respond better when the male parent is away for significant periods of time rather then when the female parent leaves for a similar period of time. This research will be useful in order to understand the communication style of military families.

The military understands that when a deployed service member returns home the assimilation process can be difficult. In order to assist with the transition various programs have been established. The research in this article examines the Navy’s Return and Reunion program that occurs aboard U.S. Navy ships prior to their return from deployment. The program is based upon three assumptions the first being that separations due to deployments while normal are stressful events in the lives of Navy families, the second is that Navy families are not pathologically and the third assumption is that by focusing on increasing the level of family cohesion, adaptability and communication will increase the success of the deployed sailors return. During this training the Navy personal are taught coping skills that assist them when confronted with the joyful yet stressful events that occur upon returning. While this program was designed especially for Navy and Marine Corp personal the information provided can be used to assist members of the Army and Air Force as well. The information provided in this research is important for the research topic of military families and communication because it examines the preparation that military service members undergo in order to minimize the conflict that could arise from poor communication during this transition.

Family life educators are professionals who focus on improving the lives of families especially those that are balancing the requirements of both a career and family. Military families deal with the common problems associated with all families, child care, elder care, and education and career choices. In addition to these challenges they are also subject to challenges unique to military life. These stressors include repeated relocations, frequent separations and other factors that result in the reorganization of the family. In addition to these stressors military life is defined by a strict set of rules and obligations that the family members are also expected to follow.

This research will enhance the research on military family and communication because when a military family does not communicate properly there can be negative repercussions for the service member as well as their family. By learning how best to communicate under these circumstances is important in maintaining the quality of life that military families experience.

Hahlweg Kurt, Kaiser Andrea, Christensen Andrew, Fehm-Wolfsdorf Gabriele and Groth Thomas. (2000). Self-Report and Observational Assessment of Couple Concordance between the Communication. Journal of Marriage and the Family. 62(1), 61-67.

This study was attempting to create a cross-cultural replication between the Communication Patterns Questionnaire (CPQ) Constructive Communication Subscale and an observational measure of constructive communication. The participants were required to answer a brief questionnaire and then have a conversation with their spouse about a problem they were having in their relationship. The conversation was recorded to assist the researchers.

It is believed that by observing how a couple communicates in public will indicate their level of satisfaction in their relationship. It is also possible to use these conversational cues to predict the future levels of their satisfaction with their relationships.

Any research that increases the body of knowledge on maintaining and predicting the success of a relationship would be useful to incorporate into the military family. By understanding the problems that are involved in a relationship and being able to recognize the conversational cues issues in a relationship can be resolved before an additional stressor is added to their situation. Due to this the research article is included.

This research is focused on understanding the way communication occurs throughout an organization with members both internal and external to the organization. By increasing the support systems for both old and current technologies communication processes can be enhanced. These types of communication include the telephone, voicemail and email technologies. In order to facilitate the level of communication many organizations have the ability to support several forms of communication technology including telephone, fax machines, voice mail, email and videoconferencing. This increase in communication makes it possible to maintain contact where ever the organization sends the individuals that work for it.

Communication technologies can be ranked by how well the different types of communication can be transmitted through the device in order to enhance the exchange of information among various individuals. By enhancing the communication individuals will be able to prevent miscommunication amongst individuals. Preventing miscommunication is important in any organization but is increasingly important in regards to the military.

By preventing miscommunication and allowing external communication with family and friends the military as an organization will enhance the time that military service members are deployed and apart from their families. While no form of distance communication can make up for the time spent apart the impact on the family structure can be minimized allowing the families to maintain their structural integrity.

During the time spent apart from their family’s military personal still need the ability to communicate social information across long distances. While telephone, voicemail and email all provide different levels of social interaction which impacts how much social information can be conveyed. The telephone provides the best form of conveying social information when compared to voice mail. However voicemail provides more social interaction then when compared to email. By allowing deployed service members a wide verity of communication avenues all levels of social communication can be maintained and the family structure and integrity will experience less of an impact.

The lessons learned after deploying large amounts of troops to Afghanistan and Iraq after the terrorist’s attacks of September 11, 2001 included the increased understanding that deployed troops needed ready access to health care professionals trained in diseases and medical conditions that are prevalent among military personal. This lesson was learned after the return of many troops from Afghanistan and Iraq many of who were members of the National Guard or the Reserves as they went through the transition process they lost access to military medical coverage unless they could show that their illness or medical condition was the direct result of their active duty experiences. However many of these service members were exposed to harsh conditions in the desert as well as endemic infectious diseases. While the service members appeared healthy on their return within several months they were experiencing a varied of illnesses and symptoms regretfully these individuals were no longer covered by the military medical care. Because the problems were so wide spread military benefits were extended to cover these situations.

An additional result of this experience was the creation of the Force Health Protection which is a program implemented by the Department of Defense in order to increase the emphasis on military families to stay healthy and fit which will increase their protection from common illnesses and injury. This program is administered after the military member returns from a deployment and increases their awareness of preventive measures, health surveillance and risk assessment and communication strategies. This allows both the military service member and their families to benefit from the increase in education allowing them to increase the levels of communication during the stressful period of readjustment.

Additional protections of the health of deployed military personal have been to increase the level of attention that is paid to the health and environment situation in the areas were the deployed troops are serving. This includes the addition of preventative medicine, environment surveillance and forward laboratory teams becoming additions to the list of personal deployed to combat areas.

This research article is focusing on the transmission of emotions between family members. The emotional transmission of the individual is evaluated by assessing the circumstances surrounding the event as well as the emotions that are present in the family member that experienced the event. The researcher then evaluated the effect that these feelings created in other members of the family.

The family is made up of a series of interchanges among the family members themselves and external situations. These interchanges can cause positive situations or negative situations that will affect the family members differently. This research is important when considering military families and communication because the success of the family depends on the close interactions between the family and the military service member. By being able to map how the emotions of one family member affect the other members of the family the level of understanding among military families and families in general will be increased. Emotions have the capability of both influencing and limiting an individual’s perceptions, thoughts and actions and because they have such a large influence on individuals being able to understand it as fully as possible is an important area of research.

This research examines two social institutions that have the possibility of affecting each other in significant ways but have little research linking the two. These institutions are war and the family. How wars are fought and reported through the media has changed significantly since the Civil War. During the Civil War, the media did not posses the ability to inform the civilian population of the location, number of wounded and number of dead as they can through the abilities of mass communication. During the Vietnam War the civilian population was able to receive the status of specific units through common media sources. Due to this increase in communication abilities this research focused on the effects that the Vietnam War had on the families of the soldiers deployed to combat locations throughout Vietnam.

In this study changes in the marriage, birth and divorce rates, child care arrangements and the role of women were examined in order to determine the effect that the Vietnam War had on military service members and their families. As this study continued it was not possible to determine if the effect of war situations created a negative or a positive situation. While the effect on the deployed service member’s families was significant the effect on the society was significant. The Vietnam War was able to affect the entire range of human and family affairs such as education, health, law, civil liberties and the economy.

This article focuses on a model of parental involvement in family support programs that is based on a combination of ecological and family system frameworks. This article focuses on the parental decision to enroll and maintain their enrollment in family support programs. While the research shows that the decision to enroll in these programs is influenced by several different factors the benefits of participation in the programs are significant.

The support provided by these programs is invaluable to at risk families. They provide support and educational opportunities that can assist such families at increasing their communication skills and coping skills. As military families have many additional factors that increase their level of risk it a method of lessening the risk would be to increase the availability of family support programs. This research will assist the development of the topic military families and communication because these family support programs will enhance the level of communication among family members.

The research in this article is focused on clarifying the concept of family resilience. There is confusion among the research and practitioner communities. The confusion over the meaning of family resilience is due to a difference in use. Practitioners use the term in order to refer to the strengths of the family rather then the weaknesses. Researchers have focused their research on examining how the outcome of a family that has been exposed to a significant risk. The confusion is increased by the lack of research in determining the difference between resilience as an outcome, the characteristics that contribute to the family’s level of resilience, the nature and extent of the exposure to risk and the process of resilience itself.

This research is important to the research of military families and communication because the resilient family has an increased level of communication. This is an important component of the military family because communication is such an integral part of maintaining the relationship across extended deployments and separations.

In this study the researchers were applying a social constructionist perspective to analyze the role of American soldiers deployed on peacekeeping missions. As this is a recent development in the user of American troops it is important to examine the effects that these types of deployments have on the soldiers and their families. Through current social practices young men are conditioned to view military operations as a form of war. This occurs through television shows, movies and even children’s games. Due to this previous experience when these young men volunteer for military service they are mentally prepared for situations that occur during a military operation.

This research is focused on the effects that serving during a military peacetime operation has on both the service members and their families. In military situations in which the soldiers are being deployed to engage in warfare the soldiers know that once a specific military objective has been achieved the soldiers can return home. In a peacekeeping situation the service members do not have the military objective as an end goal the length of service time is extended. Due to this indefinite period of deployment the research is focusing on understanding the effect that this type of military deployment has on both the service member and their family. As the United States military is deployed on more peacekeeping missions this research will allow the Department of Defense to create programs that better fit the needs of both the service member and their families to increase the levels of communication and family cohesion.

Police officers and military personal both have the risk of encounter traumatic events during their daily employment activities. When researching how individuals employed by the military communicate with their families an additional avenue of research would include police officers and their communication strategies. Traumatic events can increase the stress levels of the individuals affected by the event. This research focused on the communication strategies used by individuals who experienced different levels of traumatic events. When the research was analyzed it showed that the effects of traumatic stress on symptoms showed that some types of communication, such as the ease of talking about trauma or positive communications about work moderated the effects of stress for police officers. Higher levels of communication associated with a weaker trauma were shown to strain relationships. However, some types of communication only buffered stress at moderate levels and other types may not provide protective coverage.

Social support while a broad construct has the ability to increase the recovery rate of the individual experiencing the traumatic event. It has also been documented that if the individual who experienced the traumatic event is able to disclose the details surrounding the event a positive outcome is more likely to occur. This research can then be extrapolated to military personal and programs that will increase the ability of military personal to discus traumatic experiences with trained personal. If a person associated with the military is able to successfully move past traumatic situations then the level of family cohesiveness will be strengthened rather then torn apart by the traumatic incident.

References

Allen, Katherine R, and Baber, Kristine M. (1992). Starting a Revolution in Family Life Education. Family Relations. 41(4), 378-384.

Angrist, Joshua D and Johnson, John H IV. (2000) Effects of Work Related Absences on Families: Evidence From the Gulf War. Industrial and Labor Relations Review. 54(1), 41 – 58.

Blalsure, Karen R. and Arnold-Mann, Jeanne. Return and Reunion: A Psychoeducational Program Aboard U.S. Navy Ships. Family Relations. 41(2), 178-185.

Drummet, Amy Reinkober, Coleman, Marilyn and Cable, Susan. (2003). Military Families under Stress: Implications for Family Life Education. Family Relations. 52(3), 279-287.

Hahlweg Kurt, Kaiser Andrea, Christensen Andrew, Fehm-Wolfsdorf Gabriele and Groth Thomas. (2000). Self-Report and Observational Assessment of Couple Concordance between the Communication. Journal of Marriage and the Family. 62(1), 61-67.

Hinds, Pamela and Kiesler, Sara. (1995). Communication across Boundaries: Work, Structure, and Use of Communication Technologies in a large Organization. Organization Science. 6(4), 373- 393.

Hyams, Kenneth C., Riddle, James, Trump, David H., and Wallace, Mark R. (2002) Protecting the Health of United States Forces in Afghanistan: Applying Lessons Learned since the Gulf War. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 34(5), S208- S214.

Larson, Reed W. and Almeida, David M. (1999). Emotional Transmission in the Daily Lives of families: A New Paradigm for Studying Family Process. Journal of Marriage and the Family. 61(1), 5-20.

Lieberman, James E. American Families and the Vietnam War. (1971). Journal of Marriage and the Family. 33(4), 709-721.

McCurdy, Karne and Daro, Deborah. (2001). Parent Involvement in Family Support Programs: An Integrated Theory. Family Relations. 50 (2), 113- 121.

Patterson, Joan M. (2002). Integrating Family Resilience and Family Stress Theory. Journal of Marriage and the Family. 64(2), 349-360.

Segal, David R., Segal, Mady Wechsler and Eyre, Dana P. (1992). The Social Construction of Peacekeeping in America. Sociological Forum. 7(2), 123-145.

Stephens, Christine and Long, Nigel. (2000) Communication with police supervisors and peers as a buffer of work-related traumatic stress. Journal of Organizational Behavior. 21, 407-424.

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