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Sons’ narratives of growing up with a World War II combat veteran father Smitton, J. Alan

Abstract

Ten men participated in this study; all had fathers who served six months or more in active combat during World War II. Each son was asked about his relationship with his father specific to the father's combat experience. Each interview was audiotaped and transcribed. From each transcribed interview a narrative was developed representing the life story of growing up with a combat veteran father. Reading across all ten narratives, eight themes were extracted that were consistent for seven to ten of the participants. Two follow-up questions were later asked of each participant. These questions were also taped and transcribed and formulated into themes. The four most important themes were: avoiding the topic of combat, emotional distancing, father's perceived change in personality because of the war, and wanting to have more intimate time with their fathers growing up. Fifty-five years after the end of World War II there remains a residual effect on these sons. It is anticipated that this research will assist Canada's Peacekeepers in adjusting to their civilian life as they raise their families.

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