Date of Award

Summer 8-31-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)

First Advisor

Phyllis Solomon, PhD

Second Advisor

Abigail Ross, PhD, MSW, MPH


Purpose: Previous research indicates that identity relates to use of specific coping strategies. Exploring the relationship between self and coping in military wives is crucial to understanding how they manage military lifestyle-related stressors. The researcher hypothesized that levels of emotion-focused coping (EFC) strategies in managing stressors will be related to higher degrees of well-being and individuals who endorsed the most mature identity status and higher degrees of self-concept clarity, self-monitoring, and mastery will report greater use of EFC. Role conflict was hypothesized to predict greater use of problem-focused coping (PFC) strategies. Methods: 202 participants completed an online survey containing standardized scales and two open-ended questions. Quantitative data was analyzed via Pearson correlations and multiple regression analysis. Qualitative questions explored ways these women perceived sense of self influencing coping. Qualitative data was analyzed via thematic analysis. Results: Well-being was negatively correlated with EFC but positively correlated with PFC. Multiple regression analyses revealed EFC had positive relationships with achieved identity status and role conflict. PFC had positive relationships with moratorium status, self-concept clarity, self-monitoring, and mastery. Qualitative analysis indicated that participants view acceptance, self-reliance, flexibility, seeking social support, and cognitive reframing as helpful. Certain aspects of self were helpful in facilitating adaptive coping. Conclusions and Implications: Findings suggest that PFC may be adaptive for military wives. Those higher in “achieved” status and role conflict may cope less adaptively than those with “moratorium” status and high self-concept clarity, self-monitoring, and mastery. Social workers can assist military wives in promoting adaptive coping strategies.

Included in

Social Work Commons