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Mil Med. 2003 Jun;168(6):465-70.

Does deployment impact the health care use of military families stationed in Okinawa, Japan?

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Clinical Research Department, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, USA.


Military families are placed under a great deal of stress while serving in the armed forces. In Okinawa, Japan, marines deploy regularly at 3-month intervals throughout the year, leaving behind 7,924 dependents in a single-parent home environment. The purpose of this study was to investigate the health care needs of families in a deployed and nondeployed status in Okinawa, Japan. Families enrolled were studied over a 6-month period for levels of self-reliance, coherence, social support, well-being, adaptation, coping, anxiety, and health care visits. The tools that were used included the Family Index of Regenerativity and Adaptation-Military tools and the State Trait Anxiety Inventory. There were 299 families enrolled, of which 80% were marine spouses. A total of 28% of those surveyed were regarded as "high risk" based on the responses received on the surveys. Of these 85 families, 35% (n = 30) were nondeployed (ND), and 65% (n = 55) were from the deployed group (p = 0.03). After phone intervention, 40% of the deployed group and 17% of the ND were classified as stable; however, psychiatric consults were accepted by 29% of deployed group spouses compared with 23% of ND spouses who were identified as high-risk families. Typology change over time identified family dysfunction at 1% in the ND group alone. This study sheds new light on the stressors and subsequent health care needs of both deployed and nondeployed families in an isolated overseas duty location.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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