Protective Buffering by Service Members and Romantic Partners During Military Deployments: Associations with Mental and Relationship Health




Bricker-Carter, Sarah

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Since the beginning of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, well over 2 million military service members (SMs) have deployed to combat zones. For SMs and romantic partners, deployments represent one of the most stressful situations in their lives, with one of the largest concerns being the wellbeing of the other partner. In order to shield each other from stressors occurring at home or in combat, both deployed SMs and at-home partners report engaging in protective buffering, or intentionally withholding information or concerns in an attempt to protect the other partner. Despite retrospective, qualitative studies that document the presence of protective buffering, no quantitative research has yet assessed whether protective buffering by SMs or by partners is effective or what other effects it may have on the couple.



Psychology, Communication, Deployment, Military, Protective Buffering, Romantic Relationships