Reintegration: A Mixed Methods Exploration of Military Couples after Deployment


Name: Kristal Melvin

Rank: LTC

Organization: The Geneva Foundation

Performance Site: Madigan Army Medical Center, Fort Lewis, WA

Year Published: 2012

Abstract Status: Project Completed


Purpose: In this research study, we seek to investigate military couples’ experiences, characteristics and reintegration strategies around combat deployment to assist in the eventual development of specific, effective interventions to support military couples during reintegration.  The proposed research is aligned with the TSNRP priorities for nursing research, specifically Force Health Protection, “A holistic examination of factors affecting the health care of operational personnel (e.g., war fighters, support personnel) and their families before, during, and after deployment.” 

Aims: Specific aims of the study are to: (a) explore and describe the relationship between posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) and couple functioning and (b) investigate differences in experiences, characteristics and reintegration strategies of single service member (where one member of the couple is in the military) and dual service member couples (where both members are serving or have served in the Armed Forces).  Accomplishing these aims will provide us data for developing a grounded theory of reintegration in military couples and to assist in the designing specific, effective interventions to support military couples during reintegration.

The design for this study will be a sequential mixed methods explanatory design.  Phase 1 will involve the collection of quantitative data via on-line surveys and salivary cortisol samples, and phase 2 will rely on qualitative in-depth interviews. The phase 1 descriptive data will be collected at 2 timeframes from couples in the early post-deployment reintegration period, and once from those couples with greater than 6 months since most recent deployment.  

The quantitative data findings (Phase 1) will be further explored, through semi-structured individual interviews (Phase 2) using a grounded theory approach. Grounded theory methods are a way of investigating both systems (as in couples) and processes (as in reintegration), for purposes of developing theory, from which future hypotheses can be developed and tested.


Final Report is available on NTRL: