Poster (MS Powerpoint 2007 1MB)

Defence Relationship Health - deployment impact experience
A prospective study of the impact of deployment on the
intimate relationships of Australian Army personnel
Welch, K.A, Tippett, V.C., & Shochet, I. M.
Kerri-Ann Welch
HDR student, QUT
What is the issue?
20,000 Australian Defence Force members have deployed to Afghanistan since
2001, [1]. This has placed huge stressors on their intimate relationships, with
untold numbers of relationships breaking down due to, in part, stressors
caused by the deployment/s.
What do we already know?
There is widespread acknowledgment of deployment
affecting the relationships of military members, [2, 3, 4], but
scant detail regarding the triggers for relationship failure, or
predictors of relationship strength. Calls for further research
in this area are noted in numerous published ADF reports [5,
6, 7].
Research question
What are the impacts, both positive and negative, of
deployment on the health of intimate relationships of
Australian Army members?
Why is this important?
This research will have implications for the following groups: (a) families; (b) individuals and their successful reintegration to
home life post-deployment; (c) children of veterans and the impacts on them; (d) we know there is an increase in substance
misuse, alcohol abuse, PTSD and depression amongst returned veterans, and this research will assist to inform why that is the
case [8].
Contribution of this research
Develop an understanding
of the relationship issues
faced by deployed military
personnel and their loved
ones at home, through a
longitudinal study that
envelops deployment,
immediate homecoming
and 6-12 months postreturn to Australia.
Study One: what are the
relationship issues faced
while the military member
is deployed?
Semi-structured interviews
(n=10) with Defence Force
personnel of different ranks
to identify unique
relationship challenges
Study Two: what are the
relationship issues faced in faced by them, and to
inform the qualitative
the first month after the
deployed member returns examination of these
Thematic analysis of
qualitative data applying an
ecological approach.
Likely variables will include
combat vs. non-combat
roles, and relationships
which survive vs. those that
do not.
Secondary analysis of
Study Three: What are the Semi-structured interviews existing Department of
relationship issues faced 6- with their romantic partner Defence data with regard to
at home, separate from the demographics of members.
12 months post-return to
military member. A
combination of Skype, faceStudy Four: what are the
to-face and telephone
relationship issues faced by
interviews will be utilised.
Defence members, from the
perspectives of chaplains,
Warrant Officers,
The results of the data will fully explore the impacts, both positive and negative, on the intimate relationships of
ADF members, in order to better prepare ADF members and their partners prior to deployment; better inform ADF
commanders at all levels of likely relationship impacts of deployment, so as better to prepare their subordinates in
the pre-deployment space The end product will describe the factors that affect the health of intimate relationships
when deployment is a factor, and the possibility of providing recommendations for operational response in the
future. This project will provide a unique opportunity to prospectively identify relationship stressors brought about
by deployment for ADF members. It also has the potential to identify previously unexplored key indicators of
relationship stress in this setting.
Image: author’s own
Australian Defence Human
Ethics Committee (ADHREC)
protocol number 746-14;
QUT ethics pending
Watermark image:
1. Australian War Memorial. Afghanistan: The Australian Story Exhibition opening. 2014 Tuesday 6 August 2013 [cited 2014 27 June]; Available from:
2. Burrell, L.M., et al., The impact of military lifestyle demands on well-being, army and family outcomes. Armed Forces & Society, 2006. 33: p. 43-58.
3. Dunt, D., Review of mental health care in the ADF and transition through discharge. 2009, Australian Government.
4. Albano, S., Military recognition of family concerns: Revolutionary War to 1993. Armed Forces and Society, 1994. 20(2): p. 283-302.
5. Department of Defence. Achieving shared understanding and commitment: The first Australian Defence Force families survey. 2009, Australian Government: Canberra.
6. McGuire, A., et al., Timor-Leste family study: Summary report. 2012, The University of Queensland, Centre for Military and Veterans' Health: Brisbane, Australia.
7. Siebler, P., Supporting Australian Defence Force peacekeepers and their families: The case of East Timor. 2003, Directorate of Strategic Personnel Planning and Research, Department of Defence: Canberra.
8. Bray, R. A. (2010). Substance Use and Mental Health Trends Among U.S. Military Active Duty Personnel: Key Findings From the 2008 DoD Health Behavior Survey. Military Medicine, 175(6), 390-399.

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