Date of Award

8-15-2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Communications Media

First Advisor

Mary Beth Leidman, D.Ed.

Second Advisor

Jay Start, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Zachary Stiegler, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

B. Gail Wilson, Ph.D.

Abstract

The United States Armed Forces were once comprised primarily of single young men. The military began to diversify as servicemen married and started families. As women joined the service a growth in military partnerships and dual-parent military households became increasingly prevalent. With these changes, coupled with the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, challenges were realized about maintaining marital and family norms in balance with professional duties. The contemporary era of wars is hallmarked by longer tours and reoccurring deployments, further complicating the work-life balance for military personnel. This decade of wars parallels with innovation of new media and staggering societal adoption of online platforms for social networking and information-sharing. The trials and tribulations of deployment for military members and their loved ones require distinct efforts to communicate during extensive periods of time apart. With these modern outlets available to facilitate relational communication remotely, this study set forth to examine the impact of new media on spousal relationships in the military. Interviews with ten military spouses who experienced deployment indicated five themes regarding their use of new media: (1) mobility, (2) monitoring and surveillance, (3) community, (4) utility, and (5) uncertainty and urgency.

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