Date of Conferral





Counselor Education and Supervision


Kristi B. Cannon


Previous researchers have indicated that military deployments have challenged married couples and contributed to relational strain. It has also been found that veterans in marriages lacking intimacy are at risk of psychological problems and suicide. The purpose of this quantitative correlational study was to fill a gap in existing research by determining if attachment style, likelihood of disclosure, and demographic variables (age, length of marriage, education, race/ethnicity) predicted marital intimacy for heterosexual married male Iraq War veterans. Attachment theory provided a framework for the study, measuring anxiety and avoidance in veterans, which contributed to secure or insecure styles of relating in marriage. Data were collected using an online survey, compiled from the Experiences in Close Relationships-Relationships Structures, the Likelihood of Disclosure Scale, the Personal Assessment of Intimacy in Relationships, and individual demographic questions. Participants included 353 male heterosexual veterans belonging to military social media networking sites. Results of a stepwise multiple regression analysis demonstrated that self-disclosure and attachment style were the 2 statistically significant predictors of marital intimacy for Iraq veterans. Further, secure and preoccupied attachment style and high levels of self-disclosure explained 38% of the variance of marital intimacy. Demographic variables did not predict marital intimacy in the current study. Social change implications include identifying veterans at risk of low marital intimacy, providing protection through strengthening couples' intimacy before and after deployment, leading to a potential reduction in veteran suicide.