Graduation Year

1357027200

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Anthropology

Major Professor

S. Elizabeth Bird

Keywords

Armed Forces, Deployment, Marriage, Photo-elicitation, Strengths-based

Abstract

Recent studies have reported that African American couples in the military are less likely to divorce than their civilian counterparts. This dissertation was designed to document the experiences of African American military couples in order to understand the challenges they face while serving in the armed forces and the strategies they have used to maintain their marriages. A grounded theory approach was utilized to produce 12 main themes that categorize experiences of both the individual and the couple within the context of their respective military branch. Photo-elicitation was incorporated into semi-structured interviews with 10 couples to identify what they consider to be the important aspects of their marriage, the ways in which their relationships were impacted by the demands of duty, and their perspectives on the role that race plays in an institution that has been characterized as relatively race-neutral.

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