Date of Award

2004

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science Honours

School

School of Psychology and Social Sciences

Faculty

Faculty of Computing, Health and Science

First Advisor

Dr Elizabeth Kaczmarek

Second Advisor

Dr Paul Murphy

Abstract

This paper provides a review of the literature in order to understand the experiences of the partners of Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel. A brief overview of the early research in this area sets the context for a review of the demands of the ADF lifestyle, such as geographic mobility and lengthy operational separations from the ADF member. Military-related injuries and illness is another demand of the ADF that is also discussed. These demands are then examined within a theoretical framework of incorporation theory; the work/family fit and the family life cycle models. The overall satisfaction of ADF partners with the ADF lifestyle, and the family support policies of the Australian government are briefly outlined. Finally, the limitations of past research in this area are discussed. The partners of Australian Defence Force (ADF) members are exposed to many unique challenges, such as geographic mobility and lengthy operational separations from the ADF member. This study explores the experiences and tensions of the partners of ADF members through qualitative, in-depth interviews. The principles of grounded theory were used to guide the collection and analysis of data. A theoretical framework of incorporation theory, social constructionist theory, work/family fit and the family life cycle model was used to aid in understanding the experiences of the partners of ADF members. Data analysis of 10 interviews revealed three broad areas of difficulty for ADF members, including: Operational Separation, Relocations, and the Socially Constructed Expectations of the ADF and Australian Society. The article concludes with a discussion of the implications for future directions.

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