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Wright, Stephen

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Since the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, the United States Armed Forces has been involved in military conflicts across the globe. Innovations in battlefield medicine have resulted in the highest battlefield survival rates that America has ever seen. Injured veterans are returning to their homes by the thousands, in need of daily caregiving that encompasses many domains of life. Many times, the spouses of these individuals answer the call and become primary caregivers for their injured servicemember partners. Taking on the identity of military spouse caregiver puts these individuals at increased risk of many physical and mental health concerns along with financial strain, marital discord, separation, and divorce. This study sought to illuminate the experiences of military spouse caregivers; the changes in identity they undergo along with the barriers and burdens they face. Six individuals completed one to two hour semi structured interviews. Data from the interviews were analyzed using a descriptive phenomenological approach. Four themes emerged: information gathering and planning, advocacy, support, and resilience. The essence of the phenomenon was described with the word transformation. The implications of the study point to the need for increased support for these individuals from a strengths based, holistic perspective. Implications and limitations of the study also provided directions for future research.


144 pages

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