Thursday, January 31, 2013

Moving right along

I waited to post my dissertation update until today because I had my meeting with Leigh this afternoon. After our meeting last week, she had spent some time thinking about the variables I had presented and how they might become a research study.  I really appreciated that her first priority was helping me discover a study that my future employer would value--since I don't want a career in academe, my dissertation needs to give me cache with agencies and departments that serve military families.  I could tell she had really thought about things, and that made me feel valued.

After some back and forth together, this is what we've landed on:

How is the relationship between post-deployment stressors (including the problems at home during the previous deployment, the service member's adjustment to the return, and whether he returned from a combat zone or was wounded or is expecting redeployment) and spouse adjustment (including her depression, adjustment to the return, and marital satisfaction) influenced by resources and supports provided by the military (including counseling, support groups, and informational briefings)?  Are certain resources more or less related to positive outcomes, accounting for the characteristics of the deployment?  Does the time since the last deployment (0-6 months vs 7-12 months vs 13-18 months) matter?

So, this is a study of moderation and since I have several variables, there will be lots of potential interactions. First, I'll test the relationship between the predictor (post-deployment stressors) and the outcome (spouse adjustment) and I hypothesize that the more risks/worse off the post-deployment experience, the worse the spouse is going to be doing.  Then, I'll test the relationship between the moderator (military-provided resources) and the outcome (spouse adjustment) and I hypothesize that the more military provided resources she accesses, the better off the spouse will be doing. Finally, I will test the interaction of the predictor and the moderator (post-deployment stressors x military-provided resources) on the outcome (spouse adjustment) and I predict that more resources will reduce the influence of post-deployment stressors on spouse adjustment. Of course, it all gets more complicated than that because I have more than one indicator for each concept (3 different measurements of post-deployment stressors, for example).

But I am JAZZED! It was a great meeting and I'm ready to really get to work.  My tasks for this weekend are to come up with an outline of my proposal, with all my section headings and subsection headings.  This outline will be indicative of the story that I'm going tell, how I'm going to link the concepts so that readers conclude that the only logical way to investigate the gaps in current knowledge are through my study!  I also have to determine the theory that helps me explain why I think military-provided resources will influence the relationship between post-deployment stressors and spouses' adjustment. I'm going to give what I write this weekend to Leigh on Monday and the ball is back in her court!

Thanks ROW80 for the kick-in-the-pants to get going on this project.  Writing this post and actually typing out those questions and the interactions...they really are priming me for a full, productive day of work tomorrow! I'm thrilled to be part of this supportive community :)

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