Title

How is Social Media Used by Military Families to Communicate During Deployment?

Department

Social Work

Date of Paper/Work

2014

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Type of Paper/Work

Clinical research paper

Advisors

Kari L. Fletcher

Abstract

As the construct of today’s military has progressed and changed over time to include a more diverse representation of the United States culture, so have families progressed in how to maintain connectedness during periods of absence. The challenge of maintaining communication despite distance and extensive time differentials is often subsidized today through the utilization of social media or electronic forms of communication. This form of communication often serves as a supplement to traditional mediums of communication such as letters, care packages, and telephone calls, offering a more immediate and interactive communicative process to occur between deployed service members and their families.

This research examines how social media and electronic forms of communication are currently being utilized by service members, veterans and their spouses, partners, significant others, or adult children to maintain communication during deployment periods ( = 28). The focus in this research is on the Post 9-11 conflict period (Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn), identifying which communicative devices or mediums of preference are currently being utilized and at what frequency. Additionally, examination of conflict resolution and the engagement and resolution of difficult topics through the utilization of social media is explored.

Results indicate a high level of accessibility, satisfaction, and frequency of utilization of social media for communication between service members and their family members during deployment. Social workers are presented with the challenge of meeting the needs for facilitation of supporting these communicative efforts, as well as examining how social media as a communicative medium effects the reintegration process.

Keywords

social media, communication, deployment, military families

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.