Volume 51, Issue 4 p. 355-369
ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Shaping hope in everyday life: Experiences of veteran spouses with post-deployment mental health issues

Nadine Goeree

Nadine Goeree

ARQ Centrum’45, Diemen, the Netherlands

Department of Psychiatry, Leiden University Medical Centre Leiden, Leiden, the Netherlands

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Natashe Lemos Dekker

Natashe Lemos Dekker

Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology, Leiden University, Leiden, the Netherlands

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Yvon de Reuver

Yvon de Reuver

The Netherlands Veterans Institute, Doorn, the Netherlands

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Joris F. G. Haagen

Corresponding Author

Joris F. G. Haagen

ARQ Centre of Expertise for the Impact of Disasters and Crises, Diemen, the Netherlands

Correspondence

Joris F.G. Haagen, ARQ Centre of Expertise for the Impact of Disasters and Crises, Nienoord 5 1112XE Diemen, the Netherlands. Email: [email protected]

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Eric Vermetten

Eric Vermetten

Department of Psychiatry, Leiden University Medical Centre Leiden, Leiden, the Netherlands

ARQ Centre of Expertise for the Impact of Disasters and Crises, Diemen, the Netherlands

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First published: 03 September 2023

Abstract

While spouses of military veterans have not been directly exposed to threats during deployment, they often experience a substantial post-deployment-related health burden while living with and caring for a partner with deployment-related mental health issues. Drawing from in-depth interviews, this study examined how female spouses of military veterans deal with the psychosocial effects of deployment. We show how these women cope. They keep their family lives going by maintaining hope for the future. We argue that hope is a dynamic practice between reality and possibility, and different forms of hope co-exist. These range from temporary formulations of present-centered hope, and permanent hopes directed towards the future. We illustrate how spouses challenge discourses around curative futures and adjust their hopes to maintain a more satisfactory everyday life and a positive horizon towards the future.

DATA AVAILABILITY STATEMENT

The data that supports the findings of this study is available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.