Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Kari Fletcher


Social Work


The purpose of this study was to explore secondary traumatic stress and family functioning in military families. Six licensed mental health professionals, including social workers and a marriage and family therapist with experience working directly with military families participated in this study. Using a qualitative design, participants were interviewed regarding their experience working with these families. Five themes emerged from the data including: (1) strength of communication within the family can impact functioning; (2) the non-veteran parent often takes on various aspect in the role of both parents; (3) children often present secondary traumatic stress symptoms outside of the home; (4) family functioning and responses to trauma are unique to each family; and, (5) family and couples counseling is an essential treatment tool for these families. Limitations were lack of discussion surrounding female veteran to male spouses, as well as same sex partnerships. This study presents information through the personal and professional lens of the participants and draws awareness to PTSD and secondary traumatic stress in military families.

Included in

Social Work Commons