Psychology, Professional

Date of Paper/Work


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.)

Type of Paper/Work

Doctoral Project


Kurt Gehlert, PhD, LP; Consuelo Cavalieri, PhD


War deployments are stressful events for the at-home spouse of a deployed soldier (Faber, Willerton, Shelley, Clymer, MacDermid, &Weiss, 2008; Demers, 2009; Chapin, 2009). Approximately two million military personnel had been deployed to the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as of August 2009 (Center for Deployment Psychology, 2010). Spouses of National Guard and Reserve members of the military are uniquely affected by deployments (Tollefson, 2008; Slone, Pomerantz, & Friedman, 2009; Huebner, Mancini, Bowen, & Orthner, 2009). They do not belong to a military base, and therefore, do not have access to base resources, such as medical and mental health services attuned to the unique issues facing military personnel and their families (Tollefson, 2008; Slone, Pomerantz, & Friedman, 2009; Huebner, Mancini, Bowen, & Orthner, 2009). The literature documents stressors associated with war deployments for the at-home spouse, such as concern about their soldier’s safety and wellbeing, loneliness, and increased responsibilities at home, such as single parenting (Faber et al., 2008; Demers, 2009; Chapin, 2009). Furthermore, research has found increased levels of mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety, among spouses of deployed soldiers (Mansfield, Kaufman, Marshall, Gayned, Morrissey, & Engel, 2010; Lawler, Flori, Volk, & Davis, 1997). Healthy coping strategies and resilience are instrumental in successfully navigating deployments (McCubbin, Dahl, Lester, Benson, & Robertson, 1976; Wiens & Boss, 2006), and support groups are widely recommended in the literature as one way of coping with the deployment of a spouse (Tollefson, 2008; Black, 1993; Huebner et al., 2009). This doctoral project has used the research literature as a guide to develop a support group manual for non-deployed spouses and partners; specifically those of National Guard or Reserve personnel. The topics proposed in the manual were derived directly from suggestions found in the research literature.


War-deployment, military, at-home spouses

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