Suspicion about a partner’s deception and trust as roots of relational uncertainty during the post-deployment transition

Leanne K. Knobloch, Lynne M. Knobloch-Fedders, Jeremy B. Yorgason, Erin D. Basinger, Bryan Abendschein, Kelly G. McAninch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Relational uncertainty is both prominent and pivotal during the transition from deployment to reintegration. Most prior research has considered the outcomes rather than the origins of relational uncertainty, hampering the development of interventions for military couples. We theorize about two predictors of relational uncertainty during the post-deployment transition: suspicion about a partner’s deception and trust. Results of an 8-wave longitudinal study involving 287 U.S. military couples (N = 4,147 observations) revealed that relational uncertainty increased over the transition for both returning service members and at-home partners. Suspicion about a partner’s deception, and particularly trust, predicted the relational uncertainty of military couples at homecoming and over time. These findings advance knowledge about the roots of relational uncertainty and suggest ways to assist military couples upon reunion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)912-934
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Volume38
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Deception
  • deployment
  • military couples
  • reintegration
  • relational uncertainty
  • trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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