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The use of protective buffering in guard and reservist wives’ disclosures to their deployed husbands: a pilot study

1 January 2015


When military service members are deployed, their absence affects their families. In this study, the relationships among communication styles, modes of communication, and the degree of information shared between wives and their deployed husbands are explored. In particular, the conditions under which wives of National Guard and Reserve service members choose to disclose family stressors or use protective buffering in communications with their deployed husbands are explored. National Guard wives (N = 7) whose husbands had returned from deployment in the past 18 months completed a web-based survey about the communication of family stressors during deployment. Protective buffering was associated with higher levels of stress and lower perceived ability to control stressors, while disclosure was associated positively with higher levels of perceived support from husbands. Perceived risk to their husbands’ safety and marriage quality were not found to be related to disclosure or protective buffering patterns.


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