An auto/ethnographic exploration of the effects of a reservist's deployment on the support system: The theory of deployment communication and resilience for a support system
The purpose of this study is to understand how the support system, including family (such as parents and siblings), friends, and co-workers experience the deployment of a Reservist who is not married and does not have children. This qualitative research used both ethnographic responses from participants, and my autoethnographic writings as the deployer and researcher. The ethnographic research collection spanned the course of the deployment and was tailored to target collection during the three phases of deployment (pre-deployment phase, deployment phase, and post-deployment/reintegration phase). Using grounded theory, I developed the theory of deployment communication and resilience for a Reservist’s support system which posits (1) the support system needs to diverse, (2) the practice of mutual permissive protective buffering in frequent communication, and (3) the need for both deployer and support system to educate themselves on the challenges of reintegration. Another important outcome of the study is confirming the important role of military-to-military friendship in coping and healing during the reintegration phase. This project is the first of its kind focused on the support system of a Reservist.