Mother, father, husband, wife, soldier: identity-negotiation of veterans during re-entry into family life post-deployment
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] The purposes of this study were to (a) understand how recent military veterans negotiate their identities post-deployment, and more specifically, (b) understand how military veterans' identity negotiation impacts communication with partners and their children after war-time deployment. The current study interviewed 22 recent veterans. Using Hecht, Jackson, and Ribeau's (2003) Communication Theory of Identity (CTI) as a theoretical lens, the results revealed that participants experience the penetration of the personal, relational, and communal layers as defined by CTI. Specifically, participants had the urge to negotiate their identity post-deployment at the personal layer, fighting to go back to the person that they were before they deployed. However, as they negotiated between work and family identities, the personal layer negotiation began to interpenetrate with the communal layers as they worked to balance their work and family selves post-deployment. Then, participants learned that their work and family identities intrapenetrated within the communal layer. Next, participants' communication was affected within the relational layer as they negotiated their relational identities with their spouse and their children. Participants experienced topic avoidance, jealousy, and role negotiation with their spouse and identity gaps with their children.
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