Date of Award

Summer 8-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Communication & Theatre Arts


Lifespan and Digital Communication

Committee Director

Thomas J. Socha

Committee Member

Gary A. Beck

Committee Member

E. James Baesler

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.C47 M58 2015


This thesis reports an exploratory and descriptive study of communication support and religious support used by military personnel to manage occupational stress over the course of a career and their perceived effectiveness at helping to manage occupational stress. Drawing on a lifespan communication approach, this study employed a careerspan perspective where occupational stressors and sources of support (human and religious) are examined over the course of military careers. Results find three different groups of sources of communicative support were used in different ways to help manage military occupational stress: sources within the military, sources outside of the military, and religious sources. Also, across the career-span, some sources of support (communicative and religious) appeared only at certain times (e.g., the Bible figured in the beginning stages) whereas others were prevalent throughout the career-span (e.g., Chaplains). Looking at the various sources of communicative support that military personnel turned to, religion figured more prominently in both early years and the later years, but was also turned to far less than human communication support sources. Participants did report that communicative support they received was helpful in managing occupational stress with familial support and support of other military members as most beneficial throughout career-span.


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