Military Family Reunions Can Be Rocky

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill., Aug. 31 (UPI) — Deployed U.S. troops often want nothing more than to be back home but a reunion period can be more emotionally taxing than deployment, researchers say.

Leanne Knobloch of the University of Illinois and co-author Jennifer Theiss of Rutgers University say returning service members are at greater risk of both depressive symptoms and relationship distress. Research shows the two often go together — a troublesome combination, since someone suffering from depressive symptoms “really needs the support of their romantic partner.”

The study is based on a one-time online survey of 220 service members — 185 men and 35 women from 27 states — who had been home less than six months from their last deployments.

Sixty-four percent were in the National Guard and 28 percent in the Army, with the Air Force, Marines and Navy each representing 3 percent or less. Fifty-seven percent had completed multiple deployments, the researchers say.

The study, published in the Journal of Family Psychology, in a special issue on military families, finds feelings of interference from a partner are also not unusual — given that each person has grown accustomed to doing things on their own during the deployment.

Knobloch and Theiss offer advice for returning service members –recognize the uncertainties you might have about the relationship and address them.

“Anticipate sources of interference from your spouse or partner in everyday life and routines, and attempt to resolve them,” the researchers say.

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