Date of Conferral







Carol Watson


Military families represent an under-researched and unique population in U.S. society. Little is known about the effects that extended separations have on military families and/or about the daily challenges such families face. This basic qualitative inquiry examined military spouses’ perception of how social media and digital face-to-face communication with deployed parents influenced their children’s behaviors and attitudes toward school. It also examined the perceptions of teachers who teach or taught military children whose parents were deployed. The study’s conceptual framework consisted of Bandura’s social cognitive theory of self-efficacy and Ainsworth and Bowlby’s attachment theory. The research questions for this study were used to ask how spouses of deployed active-duty service members perceived the effect that social media and digital face-to-face communication had on their children’s behaviors and attitudes in school, and how teachers perceived deployments influenced military children’s behaviors and attitudes toward school. Data were collected through semistructured, in-depth individual interviews from 11 military spouses and five teachers. Each interview was transcribed from recording to text using an automated transcription service. Once each interview was transcribed, Microsoft Word was used for manual coding. Data were analyzed and coded to identify rich themes and patterns. The key results revealed that military spouses supported social media. Social media helped military families stay connected in real-time, and such connections contributed to military children’s positive attitudes at school and at home. The implications for positive social change are a better understanding of the challenges and needs of children whose parents have been deployed to better meet those needs.