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Army Wives’ Consumer Vulnerability and Communities of Coping

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

E-pub ahead of print
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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>12/12/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>European Journal of Marketing
Number of pages23
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date12/12/19
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Purpose
The spouses or partners of serving members of the UK Armed Forces are often subject to similar constraints to those of enlisted personnel. This paper aims to examine the experiences and wellbeing of a group of army wives. In particular, it focuses on their shared experiences of consumer vulnerability and related challenges, exploring the extent to which membership of military wives’ communities can help them to cope.

Design/methodology/approach
Using an interpretivist approach, data were collected through four focus group discussions involving 30 army wives, and seven individual in-depth interviews.
Findings
The paper highlights shared experiences of consumer vulnerability and demonstrates how army wives’ approaches to coping incorporate both individual and community-based approaches. It proposes that communities of coping develop within the army wives community, providing women with both practical and emotional support.

Research limitations/implications
The paper acknowledges that there is a range of factors that will impact military spouses’ experiences of consumer vulnerability and strategies for coping. This heterogeneity was difficult to capture within a small exploratory study.

Practical implications
The UK Government should consider their duties towards military spouses and children. This would entail a significant cultural shift and recognition of military personnel’s caring responsibilities.

Originality/value
This research contributes to understandings regarding the potentially shared nature of both consumer vulnerability and coping strategies. The study introduces the relevance of communities of coping to consumer contexts, highlighting how members can benefit from both practical and emotional support.