US military spouses' experiences transitioning abroad: A narrative analysis

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© 2020 Wiley Periodicals LLC Moving to a new country and culture has emotional, social, financial, health, and cultural consequences. Military spouses face a wide range of stressors when relocating or sojourning, placing them at risk for a variety of health challenges. The aim of this study was to describe the transition experiences of military spouses who sojourn abroad as part of a service member's assignment. Using qualitative narrative inquiry, semi-structured interviews of 13 US military spouses living in Italy were conducted. Narrative thematic and structural analysis was used to analyze the data. Six themes represent the transition experience: adding stress to an already stressful situation, managing a new set of worries and fears surrounded by the unknown, reestablishing an everyday life from chaos, battling social, personal, and physical isolation, reinventing myself to move beyond simply functioning to control, and pondering about life, returning, and repatriation. Internationally, the nursing profession has a responsibility to understand the transition experience of military spouses to overseas assignments so appropriate strategies aimed at strengthening resiliency, building cultural flexibility, and maintaining health and well-being can be provided, while minimizing negative consequences. Additionally, nurses and health care providers can play a role by continually developing culturally congruent and sensitive practice.


Elliott, B. (2020). US military spouses’ experiences transitioning abroad: A narrative analysis. Nursing Forum, 55(4), 703–710. https://doi.org/10.1111/nuf.12487

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