This exploratory study used a researcher developed survey to examine the relative value of instrumental, emotional, and informational support for Reserve Component spouses during deployment. Although all types of support were valued by nearly all study participants, significant differences were found between ratings of helpfulness for each type of support. Emotional support was the support type most valued by 73.1% of spouses in this study. Instrumental support was most valued by21.1%, and only 2.8% of spouses valued informational support most. Regression analyses were used to identify factors that were predictive of value placed on each type of social support. The analyses included independent variables of developmental family life cycle stage, deployment experience, number of children, employment status, and ratings of stress. Findings included that level of stress was a significant predictor in all three models, indicating that spouses experiencing higher levels of distress during deployment place higher value on all three types of support. A significant relationship was found between number of children and value of instrumental support. A significant negative relationship was found between deployment experience and value of informational support. This study also explored the role of solicited and unsolicited support. Spouses in this study indicated their needs were most effectively met through solicited and unsolicited support in nearly equal numbers. Implications for practice, limitations of the study, and recommendations for future research are discussed.


Diane Coursol

Committee Member

Jacqueline Lewis

Committee Member

Richard Auger

Committee Member

Tracy Peed

Date of Degree




Document Type



Doctor of Education (EdD)


Counseling and Student Personnel





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