An explanatory study of family stability under conditions of deployment

Kgosana, Makatipe Charles (2010-03)

Thesis (MComm (Industrial Psychology))--University of Stellenbosch, 2010.


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Contemporary militaries are facing an increasing number of deployments compared to their previous counterparts. This is the result of globalisation and the acknowledgement of interdependence between various countries. The demand is even higher in the South African National Defence Force because of its geographical and socio-political position. Emanating from its position it is endowed with the task of stabilising the continent. This is an important task considering the fact that no country can experience stability and economic prosperity if its neighbours are unstable. The people performing the above highly venerated task are members of families with expectations. The demands posed by job demands in a form of deployment put tremendous pressure on even the healthiest of families. The situation is aggravated by the structure of most military families, cohesive nuclear families isolated from the support of extended families. The resulting conflict arising from the incompatibility affects all facets of a soldier’s life and his/her family. The inevitable consequences include stress, and attitudes such as job dissatisfaction, marital dissatisfaction, and low life satisfaction. The culmination of these negative consequences spill over to work performance and family stability. The family is the most disadvantaged domain because the military ethos enjoins soldiers to prioritise their work and treat the rest as secondary. This leads to an irrefutable destabilisation of families, which is a common experience in military families. The effects are more pronounced on women due to the social roles endowed on them. Their role in nurturance and emotional support make their absence more evident. The children are also not spared from the suffering. The effects of the fragmentation in the family affect their psychological wellbeing, their performance at school and their behaviour in general. The reunion often marks an apex of the tragedy. Returning parents find changes at home, some feel out of sync and others force their way into the families. The family roles have to be renegotiated, which is a process fraught with conflicts. The parents who gained prerogatives in the absence of their spouses are usually unwilling to relinquish their prominent positions. This result in conflicts, which prompt the dissolution of families, and in some cases, fathers withdraw and ask for unaccompanied long-term duties away from home.

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