Topic avoidance, everyday talk, and stress in romantic military and non-military couples

Brandi N. Frisby, Kerry Byrnes, Daniel H. Mansson, Melanie Booth-Butterfield, Meagan K. Birmingham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Relationships are increasingly impacted by military involvement, necessitating a deeper understanding of communication within these couples. This study examined perceptions of everyday talk, topic avoidance, and stress of participants romantically involved with (a) a military partner (n = 118) or (b) a non-military partner (n = 94). Couple types avoided similar topics, but non-military partners avoided these topics more frequently than military partners. Both couple types engaged in everyday talk, but military partners found this communicative exchange to be more important. Non-military partners experienced greater stress than military partners, and communication was predictive of the stress experienced. The results of this study highlight similarities and differences in romantic couples and reveal areas in which relationship education can address these communicative nuances of military couples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-257
Number of pages17
JournalCommunication Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • Everyday talk
  • Military
  • Romantic
  • Stress
  • Topic avoidance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


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