Objective: The aim of this study was to describe deployed National Guard members’ and their families’ perceptions of their experience with family reintegration, and the causes and conditions of challenges reintegration presents after deployment. Methods: A total of 26 National Guard members and 19 family members participated in individual (n = 22), couples (n = 6), or focus group (n = 17) interviews. In-depth interviews were used to assess needs and maximize input from military families regarding deployment-related experiences and reintegration issues. Qualitative coding and analysis of data were completed using NVivo. Results: Finding their way back in is the key process that the military members must complete to successfully reestablish their desired social connections with the family and reclaim their place within the family. Several conditions shape the degree of challenges with reintegration that veterans and their family will encounter. These include preparation for deployment, length and type of deployment, communication during deployment, and finally, awareness of how deployment changes the military member and the family. Conclusion: Support resources dedicated to providing National Guard members and their families with assistance in preparing for deployments and educating them about the importance of communication during deployment should be maintained and expanded. Broader educational efforts that increase awareness of what to expect regarding how deployment changes the military member and the family are needed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health