THE LIVED EXPERIENCE OF MOTHERS OF SOLDIERS DEPLOYED TO A WAR ZONE
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Since the events of September 11, 2001 and the declaration of the "Global War on Terrorism" began our U.S. military forces have significantly increased military deployments. Military-induced separations can be very stressful to family members. The stress of frequent and long deployments can present as symptoms of depression, anxiety, and multiple somatic complaints. Most of the studies that have been done have been in the area of marital and child relationships. There have been no studies examining the experience of deployment from a mother's perspective. The purpose of this study was to examine the lived experience of being the mother of a soldier deployed to a war zone, how they coped, and how advanced practice nurses can help. Spiegelberg's philosophy of phenomenology was the framework used for this study. A qualitative, descriptive phenomenological approach was used. A convenience and purposive sample of nine women who met the criteria for sample selection were solicited for the study. Data were collected via interviews using a demographic questionnaire and an open-ended questionnaire. The interviews were audio taped and transcribed verbatim. Data were analyzed using Giorgi's phenomenological method. Three themes emerged from the data analysis: (a) waiting and watching, (b) always on my mind, and (c) mother's intuition/the mom version. In addition, the analysis revealed that faith, family, and friends were the main coping mechanisms. Conclusions indicated that deployment of soldiers to a war zone does affect the mother, even if they no longer live in the same household. This can present itself in sleep disturbances, mood changes, depression, worry, and fear. Recommendations for practice include the importance of recognizing individual experiences and education on coping mechanisms, as well as resources available for these mothers. Some recommendations for further research, include exploring the resolution of stress in mothers after the return of the soldier and whether there are any lasting effects.
Solidiers Family relationships
Families of military personnel
United States Armed Forces Foreign service