Date of Conferral







Tony Hobson


This qualitative study was designed and conducted to hear the voices of military spouses who chose to live separately from the active duty spouse. The study also sought to identify potential risks due to the separation and protective factors that were used to positively cope with separation. Previous studies have examined risk factors for military spouses as a result of military induced separation such as deployment. However, no study has been conducted regarding separation by choice of the military spouse and active duty service member. The theory of resiliency provided an understanding of the presence of protective factors and resiliency. Data were collected from 8 military spouses, recruited through social media, using semistructured interviews, who provided details of their lived experience of voluntary separation. The study findings indicated that participants who were voluntarily separated from their active duty spouse were unhappy with the separation. All but 1 of the participants in the study experienced separation stressors such as being stressed, overwhelmed, lonely, and sad because to the separation. Negative psychological symptoms such as depression and anxiety were experienced by military spouses voluntarily separated 7 months and longer. Social support, such as family, was identified by all participants in the study as a protective factor helping them cope with the separation. The findings of the study provide other military spouses with knowledge on voluntary separation. Additionally, federal and state mental health professionals and policy makers can gain better understanding and knowledge about this population to help foster positive mental health and designed laws to assist military spouses.