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Prof Psychol Res Pr. 2014 Dec;45(6):452-464.

The Impact of Military Deployment and Reintegration on Children and Parenting: A Systematic Review.

Author information

1
Providence VA Medical Center, Providence, Rhode Island and Brown University.
2
Bradley/Hasbro Children's Research Center, Providence, Rhode Island and Brown University.
3
Providence VA Medical Center, Providence Rhode Island and Brown University.

Abstract

Hundreds of thousands of children have had at least 1 parent deploy as part of military operations in Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom; OIF; Operation New Dawn; OND) and Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom; OEF). However, there is little knowledge of the impact of deployment on the relationship of parents and their children. This systematic review examines findings from 3 areas of relevant research: the impact of deployment separation on parenting, and children's emotional, behavioral, and health outcomes; the impact of parental mental health symptoms during and after reintegration; and current treatment approaches in veteran and military families. Several trends emerged. First, across all age groups, deployment of a parent may be related to increased emotional and behavioral difficulties for children, including higher rates of health-care visits for psychological problems during deployment. Second, symptoms of PTSD and depression may be related to increased symptomatology in children and problems with parenting during and well after reintegration. Third, although several treatments have been developed to address the needs of military families, most are untested or in the early stages of implementation and evaluation. This body of research suggests several promising avenues for future research.

KEYWORDS:

deployment; military; parenting; veterans

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