Researchers study married combat veterans’ leisure habits

by Jennifer Miller
April 21, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State researchers are studying leisure in the lives of married Iraq and Afghanistan veterans as a first step to ultimately designing an intervention program for veterans returning home after deployment.

The study’s results will help investigators understand connections between leisure and veterans’ marital relationships as part of a larger effort to promote the health and well-being of recently returned veterans.

Existing programs supporting veterans may organize events that are too infrequent or at inconvenient times and locations as well as being focused primarily on the individual veteran, researchers said. The focus of the current effort is on increasing the quality and frequency of daily leisure to promote both individual and couple well-being.

“We’re really thinking holistically about the military family by examining the role of leisure with the service member and their spouse, to examine how leisure engagement influences marital relationships,” said Derrick Taff, lead investigator and assistant professor of recreation, park and tourism management.

Researchers with the College of Health and Human Development and the Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness are in the process of studying a small sample of married veterans who served during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The pilot study is intended to lead to a larger quantitative study with Iraq and Afghanistan veterans before researchers use the combined results to develop a leisure intervention program to help veterans and their spouses adjust post-deployment.

Co-researchers include recreation, park and tourism management faculty members John Dattilo, professor; Kelly Davis, research assistant professor of human development and family studies and research scientist for the Clearinghouse; and Jeremy Moeller, an Iraq veteran and graduate research assistant for the Clearinghouse.

Undergraduate student Mary Burzinski, who is studying biobehavioral health, is assisting with the research.

Penn State’s Social Science Research Institute funded the pilot study.

Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who are married and interested in participating in the confidential study can contact Derrick Taff at 814-867-1756

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 04, 2016