Effects of Deployment on Military Spouses: The Case of Signal and Gofa Camp Military Residence Areas

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Addis Ababa University


The main objective of this study was to explore the effects of deployment on military spouses in the Ethiopian National Defense Force. A qualitative research approach was used. The target population of this study was thirty-two military spouses and nine military professionals from the Gender, Human Resource Management, Peacekeeping Operations, and Training, Legal, and Medical departments of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces. A purposeful sampling technique was used, and data were collected from both primary and secondary sources. The primary data were collected from purposively selected military professionals and military spouses using in-depth interviews and focus group discussions based on research questions and study objectives. Data from in-depth interviews, key informants, and focus group discussions were analyzed qualitatively using the thematic analysis method. The research result confirmed that ENDF military spouses faced challenges in relation to their psychological, economic, and social status during combat zone, peacekeeping, and training deployments of the service members. The study identified that the main deployment effects associated with military spouses are loneliness, fear of safety and security, stress, depression, sadness, family dissatisfaction, and financial difficulties. In addition, the study showed that personal, social, and organizational supports were the main coping mechanisms that military spouses adopted during deployment. Addressing the source of deployment effects, factors affecting military spouses’ well-being, and coping mechanisms, the study recommended the main measures that have to be taken by the organization in providing programs, services, and systems in order to fill institutional gaps for military spouses.



Military spouse, service member, military deployment, coping