The impact of foreign postings on accompanying military spouses: an ethnographic study

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Gillian Blakely *
Catherine Hennessy
Man C. Chung
Heather Skirton
(*) Corresponding Author:
Gillian Blakely | gillian.blakely@plymouth.ac.uk

Abstract

As part of an ethnographic study, the impact of foreign postings on spouses who accompany military personnel was explored. Individual interviews and focus groups with 34 British military spouses based in one location in southern Europe were conducted. Key findings suggested that reaction to a foreign posting was a reflection of personal attitudes, prior experiences, support, ability to adjust to change and strength of relationship with the serving spouse and community. For many the experience was positive due to the increased opportunity for family time, for others this helped to compensate for the difficulties experienced. Some military spouses experienced significant distress on the posting, particularly if the family was not well-supported. The potential implications of military spouses not adapting to foreign postings have significant implications for healthcare practice. Provision of more appropriate support resources before and during the posting would facilitate the transition for the military spouse and their family.

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