Coparenting across the Deployment Cycle: Observations from Military Families with Young Children

Ellen R. DeVoe, Abigail M. Ross, Renee Spencer, Alison Drew, Michelle Acker, Ruth Paris, Vanessa Jacoby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Contemporary service members and their partners have adapted their coparenting to respond to the specific transitions and disruptions associated with wartime deployment cycles and evolving child development. This qualitative study draws upon interviews with service member and home front parents of very young children to characterize their coparenting experiences throughout the deployment cycle. Parents described varied approaches as they considered their children’s developmental capacities, the fluidity of demands throughout deployment, and the service member’s well-being during reintegration. A common theme was the key role of home front parents in facilitating the service member–child relationship through communication and maintaining the presence of the deployed parent in the child’s everyday life. Reintegration challenges included redistribution of coparenting roles, the pacing of the service member into family roles, and concerns related to the returning parent’s distress. Study findings highlight areas of coparenting throughout the deployment cycle that can be supported though prevention and intervention efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1447-1469
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Family Issues
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • coparenting
  • deployment cycle
  • family processes
  • military families
  • parent/child relations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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