Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work


Social Work

First Advisor

Regina Aguirre


This dissertation asserts that communication between a committed dyad during a deployment affects post-deployment functioning. Historical communication patterns among veterans and their families are examined from WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Grenada and the Global War on Terror (GWOT) among others. Recent research has delineated different forms of communication: interactive and delayed. Communication is conceptualized in the three phases of a deployment cycle: pre, during, and post-deployment. However, the largest gap in the current literature is the identification of one theory that explains dyadic communication during a deployment. It is posited that attachment theory is the best orientation available. An online questionnaire that collected data on demographic variables and twelve assessments was commissioned to investigate dyadic communication during GWOT deployments. Research on undergraduate students' long-distance relationships was used as a starting point for conceptualizing attachment theory as applied to a dyad in a war-time setting. Results revealed that the war-time dyad had similar dynamics as compared to undergraduate students in long-distance relationships including attachment and mobile communication trends. Using the SPSS Version 22 mixed model procedure, the Actor/Partner Interdependence Model (APIM) for distinguishable dyads was used to explain behavior in terms of attachment theory (anxiety and avoidance). For this dissertation, actor/partner was with the variable ROLE as the distinguishing variable of the dyad. For the initial attachment model, main effects (veteran and spouse) and all 2-way interactions with ROLE were conducted. After the statistical significance of the initial model was established there were five dependent variables (DAS, PCL-5, SFI, PHQ-9, and IES-R) added. Some key findings were that as partner avoidance increased the veterans stress and depression decreased whereas spouses increased. When partner avoidance increased, the spouse perception of the veterans PTSD increased. Additionally, as partner anxiety increased, the veteran's relationship satisfaction decreased, whereas the spouse's increased. An unexpected finding was the significant relationship that interactive and delayed maintenance behaviors have on depression, family functioning, and relationship satisfaction. Lastly, results and implications for theory, lay person's interpretation of findings, proposed intervention: moving from CLOSED to OPEN communication, practice and future research are reviewed.


Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social Work


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

Included in

Social Work Commons