Date of Conferral



Doctor of Social Work (DSW)


Social Work


Dr. Diane Rullo


Since the start of military operations following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the nation has experienced the longest sustained war in its history. Military couples are at an increased risk of experiencing relationship stressors due to supporting long-term global military operations. Most of the research literature identifying the difficulties experienced by active-duty military couples was conducted over the past two decades following September 11, 2001. Missing from the literature are present-day problems facing military couples seeking counseling following the drawdown of overseas military operations (see United States Government Accountability Office [U.S. GAO], 2016). The purpose of this action research study was to identify the reasons there has been an increase in military couples seeking counseling over the past five years. The questions that guided this research were created to understand the reasons for an increase in military couples seeking counseling. Erik Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development provided a conceptual understanding of young adult (19 – 40) and middle adult (41 – 65) life stage development. Data collection consisted of fifteen social workers providing services to military and veteran couples participating in two focus group sessions. Participants confirmed there has been an increase in the number of military couples seeking counseling and determined the reasons for the rise, which includes a changing generational and organization mindset that favors seeking help. The results provide updated information about the current problems impacting military couples’ relationships. This contribution to the research literature may enhance social work practices on military installations through the identification of prevailing themes and trends to implement targeted programs to address needs.