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In their shoes: impact of emotions on marital satisfaction, communication, and technology in spouses of deployed military

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Separation from a loved one is a highly stressful event. The range and intensity of emotions accompanying such a separation arguably are amplified when one's spouse deploys. This thesis examines

Separation from a loved one is a highly stressful event. The range and intensity of emotions accompanying such a separation arguably are amplified when one's spouse deploys. This thesis examines at-home spouses (AHSs) of deployed military and how emotion, marital satisfaction, and communication are impacted throughout the deployment cycle. Additionally, I explore technology as a possible coping mechanism to help AHSs adapt and overcome stressfulness of deployment. One hundred sixty-six married females with a partner currently deployed, anticipating deployment, or recently returned from deployment completed an on-line survey. It was predicted AHSs would experience specific emotions during each phase, categorized as "anticipatory," (e.g., anger, worry) "absence" (e.g., lonely, sad) or "post" (e.g., happiness, relief); marital satisfaction also was predicted to be higher among spouses whose partner recently returned from deployment versus was deployed or anticipating deployment. Data showed AHSs whose partner was anticipating or currently deployed reported more "anticipatory" and "absence" emotions than AHSs with a recently returned partner. The former two groups did not differ in these emotions. AHSs with a recently returned partner reported more "post" emotions than the other two groups. Marital satisfaction did not differ based on deployment status. It was also predicted that among AHSs with a currently deployed partner, less negative emotion upon deployment would be associated with more frequent communication during deployment. Data showed AHSs who reported less negative emotion upon deployment engaged in more frequent communication with their deployed partner. Lastly, I predicted AHSs whose partners are currently deployed and who prefer modes of communication allowing direct contact (e.g., Skype) will experience less negative emotions than AHSs who prefer indirect contact (e.g., e-mail). Data showed reports of negative emotion did not differ based on preference for direct versus indirect communication. Therefore, negative emotions may develop and persist before and during deployment, but when the partner returns home, spouses do experience a rebound of positive emotions. Additionally, emotions at the time of deployment may be useful in predicting spouses' communication frequency during deployment. Findings aim to provide knowledge of family life during separation and explore technology as a possible coping mechanism for AHSs.

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  • 2011

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Law Enforcement Officer Burnout and Marital Satisfaction: An Examination of Emotional Processes

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Emotion-related processes are a pivotal piece in establishing a holistic evaluation of interpersonal and intrapersonal outcomes due to stress. These processes are especially relevant for law enforcement officers (LEOs) who

Emotion-related processes are a pivotal piece in establishing a holistic evaluation of interpersonal and intrapersonal outcomes due to stress. These processes are especially relevant for law enforcement officers (LEOs) who are required to regulate their emotions in the context of their personal lives and their job. The emotion suppression tendencies fostered by LEO culture may be exhibited in marital interactions, especially if LEOs perceive that their spouse does not understand their job (described here as spousal job misunderstanding [SJM]). The associations between LEOs believing their spouse misunderstands their job and their reported marital satisfaction and burnout levels may be explained through emotion suppression tendencies when with their spouse. This study examined whether the extent LEOs felt their spouse misunderstood their job was associated with marital satisfaction and burnout; whether those associations were mediated by the extent LEOs hid their feelings from their spouse; and, for burnout, whether effects were conditionally mediated at different levels of social support. Study analyses were conducted in separate groups according to gender, using survey data from 76 male and 26 female LEOs. In line with hypotheses, significant relationships between SJM and LEOs hiding their feelings were found. Mediation analyses revealed significant associations between SJM and marital satisfaction in both males and females, and this association was mediated by the extent LEOs hid their feelings from their spouse in male LEOs only. In a conditional mediation model, SJM was not associated with LEO burnout, but conditional indirect effects were found for male LEOs. Unexpectedly, indirect effects of LEOs hiding their feelings from their spouse were significant at mean and high levels of social support, but not at low levels. These results indicate the relevance of emotion regulation in the context of burnout, marital satisfaction, and social support, and how the opportunity for solving issues in policing and LEO-specific emotional difficulties may be found in novel interventions focused on these constructs.

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  • 2021