SOCW 6412 week 7


Week 7: Coping With Fear and Uncertainty

Imagine if these stressful thoughts were recurring themes in your life

Will she come home safe and in one piece?

When will we be leaving?

Will the kids be nice in the next school?

I’ve never lived overseas. What if I don’t fit in?

Everyone experiences fear and uncertainty, especially military families as they transition to new places or watch their loved one deploy into hostile territory. This week, you examine how military families cope with fear and uncertainty.

Learning Objectives

Students will:
  • Evaluate strategies for coping with fear and uncertainty
  • Apply coping strategies

Learning Resources

Required Readings

Kees, M., & Rosenblum, K. (2015). Evaluation of a psychological health and resilience intervention for military spouses: A pilot study. Psychological Services, 12(3), 222-230. 

Pryce, J. G., Pryce, D. H., & Shackleford, K. K. (2012b). Warriors and families speak out [PDF]. In The costs of courage: Combat stress, warriors, and family survival (pp. 101–114). Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books.
The Costs of Courage: Combat Stress, Warriors, and Family Survival, 1st Edition by Pryce, J.; Pryce, D.; Shackelford, K. Copyright 2012 by Lyceum Books, Inc. Reprinted by permission of Lyceum Books, Inc. via the Copyright Clearance Center.

Pryce, J. G., Pryce, D. H., & Shackleford, K. K. (2012a). Social work and military families [PDF]. In The costs of courage: Combat stress, warriors, and family survival (pp. 119–144). Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books.
The Costs of Courage: Combat Stress, Warriors, and Family Survival, 1st Edition by Pryce, J.; Pryce, D.; Shackelford, K. Copyright 2012 by Lyceum Books, Inc. Reprinted by permission of Lyceum Books, Inc. via the Copyright Clearance Center.

DeCarvalho, L. T., & Whealin, J. A. (2012). Healing stress in military families: Eight steps to wellness. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Step 4, “Empower” (pp. 47–60)
Step 5, “Improve” (pp. 61–84)

Wilson, S. R., Wilkum, K., Chernichky, S. M., MacDermid Wadsworth, S. M., & Broniarczyk, K. M. (2011). Passport toward success: Description and evaluation of a program designed to help children and families reconnect after a military deployment. Journal Of Applied Communication Research, 39(3), 223-249. 

Required Media

Laureate Education (Producer). (2014c). Coping with fear and uncertainty [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Note:  The approximate length of this media piece is 3 minutes.

Accessible player –Downloads–Download Video w/CCDownload AudioDownload Transcript

Professor Child (Producer). (2014). Children of military families [Video file]. Retrieved from
Professor Child (Producer) (2014). Children of Military Families [Motion picture]. USA: Professor Child.

Note:  The approximate length of this media piece is 46 minutes.

Accessible player –Downloads–Download Video w/CCDownload AudioDownload TranscriptCredit: Provided by- Professor Child

Stotter, P. L. (Producer), & Rock, M. (Director). (2011). Service: When women come marching home [Motion picture]. Retrieved from
Stotter, P. (Producer), & Rock, M. (Director). (2012). Service: When Women Come Marching Home [Motion picture]. USA: Women Make Movies.

Note:  The approximate length of this media piece is 56 minutes.

Accessible player –Downloads–Download Video w/CCDownload AudioDownload TranscriptCredit: Stotter, P. (Producer), and Rock, M. (Director). (2012). Service:  When Women Come Marching Home [Motion picture]. USA:  Women Make Movies.

Discussion: Fear and Uncertainty

With military life, there comes a great deal of fear and uncertainty: fear of handling deployments alone, fear of what may occur when a loved one is deployed into a combat zone, fear of death and dismemberment. How do I handle my veteran who is experiencing PTSD?

Uncertainty is another prevalent element as many families do not know where their next station will be, how the children will react to another school, or how they will manage friends or neighbors. Will there be enough housing? Do we have to find outside housing? Will I find another job?

As a helping professional, understanding the needs of military families and adequately supporting them through fear and uncertainty are necessary skills when working with military personnel, veterans, and their families.

For this Discussion, review the media, Coping With Fear and Uncertainty. Listen to both the Wilkinson family and the “Vietnam family.” How did these individuals cope with fear and uncertainty?

By Day 3

Post an explanation of one way the families coped with fear and uncertainty. Was it internal or external? From what type of support could these family members have benefited? What insights did you gain about these military families related to fear, uncertainty, or coping that you could apply to your future work?

Read a selection of your colleagues’ posts.

By Day 5

Respond to two or more colleagues with your insights to any aspect of their posts.

Return to this Discussion to read the responses to your initial post. Note what you have learned and/or any insights you gained as a result of the comments your colleagues made.

To complete your Discussion, click on Discussions on the course navigation menu, and select “Week 7 Forum” to begin.

Submission and Grading Information
Grading Criteria

To access your rubric:
Week 7 Discussion Rubric

Post by Day 3 and Respond by Day 5

Response 1

 Lorissa Baker RE: Discussion – Week 7COLLAPSE

Mrs. Flanigan coped with her fear by running away so that they won’t be able to hear pain. When she thought that she saw a man in a suit approach the door, he ran away before her dad could even open the door. Betsy explained that running away allowed her to feel like whoever was going to tell her the bad news would not be able to because she would have left the area. I believe that this is an external emotion because this type of fear is caused by things that happen happen around you.

Both families could benefit from groups to help ease their anxiety. One group that would benefit them would be a CBT Anxiety Group. During these 12 sessions, it could be a group of single. In these sessions the people will discuss things that trigger their anxiety and different ways to cope. 

I would tell all of my future clients that having anxiety is not as bad as it seems. I will find more effective ways to cope with fear and anxiety. In the future, I will form groups for spouses that are having a tough time with their loved ones deployment. This anxiety is way more common than we think. This will help me better assess my clients while they’re dealing with tough times. 

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Social Anxiety Group. (n.d.). Retrieved July 13, 2020, from


 Laureate Education (Producer). (2014c). Coping with fear and uncertainty [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author. 

response 2

 Teresa Sarn-Fitch RE: Discussion – Week 7COLLAPSE

One way military families cope with fear and uncertainty:

 Both Kristin Wilkinson and Betsy Flanigan both shared that they had obvious fears of their husbands being stationed in a war-time type of duty station.  I believe that a large part of how these fears are handled, has a lot to do with each individual’s personal coping style.  In Betsy’s case, she chose to move back in with her family, probably both for financial security as well as emotional.  She had their first young baby to care for, her husband is on his 3rd deployment in Vietnam, and she waits in fear for that knock on the door.  In those days there was no sophisticated technology to stay in touch with your loved ones, (yes, I remember the Vietnam days). 

            By contrast, Kristin notes that she does not focus as much as he is in a war zone, that is more focused on by the Army personnel, who serve their mission on the ground.  Since her husband is in the Navy, their greatest concerns were the fact he could get extended. Kristin’s concerns seem to be more about the duration of the deployment, more than the actual day-to-day war-time dangers.  In Betsy’s case, it was just the opposite.  The Vietnam war was a completely different type of duty station, one in which much of the battle took place on the ground, in jungles, and it was often hard to keep with the rising death rates.  You will notice from Betsy’s interview, she does not mention the duration of the deployment.  She also offers up the fact that 3 men that were in her wedding party had already been killed, but her husband did want to tell her that, she had read it.

            This is not to say that one couple’s views are any less valid than the other by comparison, but I think the fear and uncertainty also has to do with the variables that exist in each of the situations.

Is this fear internal or external?:

 Fear and uncertainty can be both an internal and external conflict.  The fear(s) itself can present both internally and externally even within the same person.  I believe that most military spouses internalize their fears, namely not wanting to share these fears with their young children. The spouses also do not want to appear weak in front of their military peer group. These fears are probably most likely externalized when the spouse can share their concerns with family members, friends and whatever supportive network they are a part of.   

What type of support would be beneficial?:

 Current literary review supports the notion that spouses who are at the risk of the greatest amount of psychological distress are also likely to be the ones with the lowest level of social support (Green et al., 2013).  It has also been found that spouses who are showing symptoms of depression may be cut off from social networks or have negative beliefs about social gatherings (Green et al., 2013).  Operating within this context, I believe that working to increase these spouse’s social circles, encouraging them to join military spouse support groups, and educating them as to whatever other internal military services they qualify for can bring on marked success.

What insights did you gain, and how can you apply these to your future work?:

 One of the most crucial aspects of social work is “listening”.  In listening to both of these military spouses, there is quite a bit of information that is shared by the spoken word, and there is information that can be gleaned by reading between the lines.  I felt by listening closely to both of these women describe their situations in detail, you can quickly pick up on the fact there are always going to be different styles of coping.  We all process traumatic events differently, and therefore we will always have different approaches to the problem.  As a student of social work, we then learn the fact that there is always more than one approach to a problem, even if it is categorized as the same problem.


Green, S., Nurius, P. S., Lester, P. (2013).  Spouse Psychological Well-Being:  A Keystone

            To Military Family Health.  Health & Human Resources Public Access.  Retrieved from

Laureate Education (Producer).  (2014c).  Coping with fear and uncertainty [Video file]. 

            Baltimore, MD:  Author

To participate in this Discussion:
Week 7 Discussion

Assignment: Coping Strategies

Children often experience fear and uncertainly related to military life. It can range from any of the following: Where am I going to live? Will I make new friends at my new school? Will I like the new school? Will my parent be okay when deployed? What happens if he or she comes home disabled? Or is killed? How do I deal with not having control over anything?

For this Assignment, think about how you might answer some of the aforementioned typical fears from a child or adolescent. This Assignment is an opportunity to be creative, which can be an essential tactic when working with children and adolescents. If you were providing psycho-educational information to children or adolescents about coping with fear and uncertainty, what might be an effective method?

Use one of the following suggested methods or one of your own to promote coping strategies related to fear and uncertainty:

  • A short story
  • A story or layout for a children’s book
  • A PowerPoint presentation
  • A brochure
  • A pamphlet
  • A game

Include the following in your method:

  • An explanation of how you would normalize fear and uncertainty as it relates to military experience
  • Ways to express feeling
  • How and why to reach out for help
  • How to cope with fear and uncertainty

Cite a scholarly resource to support your assignment.

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