Critical Needs and Level of Support for the Military Spouse: A Comparative Study of the National Guard and Active Army during the Iraq War
Type of Degreedissertation
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National Guard units have been asked to serve in ways never before experienced since the beginning of the Iraq War and throughout the continued war on terror. Multiple deployments, frequent long-term separations from families, communities, and jobs may have far reaching implications. Family Readiness Groups and a climate of support shown by military leadership can have a significant impact on family adjustment. The purpose of this study is to determine what critical needs, issues, and support the families of a National Guard Unit experienced during a deployment, and what their experiences have been with their local Family Readiness Group; as compared to the needs, issues, and support provided to the families of an Active Army Unit. Data was collected by means of participant survey completion. A total of 206 military spouses participated, 117 of the participants were the spouse of an Active Army soldier and 89 were the spouse of a National Guard solider. The current study utilized the Family Index of Coherence (FIC; McCubbin & Patterson, 1982), Social Support Index (SSI; McCubbin, Patterson, & Glynn, 1982), and Center for Epidemiological Studies of Depression Scale (CES-D; Radloff, 1977) along with a researcher developed family deployment survey of demographic information, to explore the needs and level of support experienced by the military spouses. The results of this study found that the Active Army spouse scored higher than the National Guard spouses on all scales. The most noteworthy finding in the current study was that both Active Army and National Guard spouses, when asked to describe their experiences in their own words, experienced the same difficulties with lack of social support and adjustment during the deployment of a family member.