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Internalizing and externalizing behavior of children with enlisted Navy mothers experiencing military-induced separation.

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Department of Psychology, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA 23529-0267, USA.



To examine whether children with Navy mothers exhibit higher levels of internalizing and externalizing behavior than children in civilian families and whether deployment affects children's internalizing and externalizing behavior.


Navy mothers who experienced deployment completed a measure assessing children's internalizing and externalizing behavior before and after a deployment (and at similar intervals for the Navy and civilian comparison groups). Data collection took place between 1996 and 1998.


Navy children with deployed mothers exhibited higher levels of internalizing behavior than children with nondeployed Navy mothers. Navy children whose mothers experienced deployment were more likely to exhibit clinical levels of internalizing behavior than Navy children with nondeployed mothers or civilian children. Group differences, however, were modest and overall mean scores were in the normal range.


Findings do not suggest greater pathology in children of Navy mothers; however, findings do indicate we should be particularly attentive of deployed mothers and their children.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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