Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Rodger K. Bufford, Ph.D

Second Advisor

Amber Nelso, Psy.D

Third Advisor

Ken Logan, Psy.D.


Deployment in the Armed Forces has a ripple effect on the family unit. Research suggests deployment impacts the psychological well-being of military spouses and children. The spouse who stays behind plays an important role in maintaining homeostasis while adapting to the absence of the deployed servicemember. The present study aimed to understand whether there is an association between deployment stress and parental self-efficacy. The study examined these variables in 115 military spouses of active and reserve units whose servicemembers are currently on deployment or deployed within the last two years and who are parents to children between the ages of 5 and 18. Overall, data did not support a relationship between deployment stress and parental self-efficacy. However, number of deployments showed a significant relationship on parental self-efficacy in relationship to providing nurturance and empathic responses to children. Number of deployments also yielded a significant relationship in how military spouses reported feeling competent, restricted, conflicted, supported, and/or depressed in their role as a parent. Supporting or engaging in recreational activities with children had a significant adverse effect on relationship satisfaction. Conversely, military spouse’s interpersonal relationships and social support positively affected the relationship between military spouses and servicemembers. Self-esteem, self-reliance, seeking social support and psychological acceptance of deployment helped in reduction of stress which affected parental self-efficacy and lowered levels of parental stress. Developing supportive relationships and engaging in behaviors of self-development was associated with lower levels of stress and tension from deployment and stronger parental belief in ability to support cognitive and socio-emotional adjustment of child/children. Among covariates, family income was a significant predictor of military spouses’ family integrity, self-reliance and self-esteem, interpersonal relationships and social support, belief in the value of the military’s mission, and lower psychological tension and strain during servicemember’s deployment. Race and marital status had an effect on parental self-efficacy in the domain of academic achievement. Race had a small effect on parental self-efficacy in the discipline domain. The hardship of deployment may potentially have a higher impact on military spouses managing extra responsibilities, financial hardships, and added pressure to support the academic needs of their children.

Included in

Psychology Commons