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Child Psychiatry Hum Dev. 2016 Dec;47(6):938-949.

The Impact of Deployment on Parental, Family and Child Adjustment in Military Families.

Author information

1
Nathanson Family Resilience Center, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, UCLA, 760 Westwood Plaza, A8-153, Los Angeles, CA, 90024, USA. plester@mednet.ucla.edu.
2
Nathanson Family Resilience Center, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, UCLA, 760 Westwood Plaza, A8-153, Los Angeles, CA, 90024, USA.
3
Military Family Research Institute, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA.
4
Department of Sociology, Notre Dame University, Notre Dame, IN, USA.

Abstract

Since 9/11, military service in the United States has been characterized by wartime deployments and reintegration challenges that contribute to a context of stress for military families. Research indicates the negative impact of wartime deployment on the well being of service members, military spouses, and children. Yet, few studies have considered how parental deployments may affect adjustment in young children and their families. Using deployment records and parent-reported measures from primary caregiving (N = 680) and military (n = 310) parents, we examined the influence of deployment on adjustment in military families with children ages 0-10 years. Greater deployment exposure was related to impaired family functioning and marital instability. Parental depressive and posttraumatic stress symptoms were associated with impairments in social emotional adjustment in young children, increased anxiety in early childhood, and adjustment problems in school-age children. Conversely, parental sensitivity was associated with improved social and emotional outcomes across childhood. These findings provide guidance to developing preventive approaches for military families with young children.

KEYWORDS:

Child social emotional adjustment; Family adjustment; Military deployments; Military parent behavioral health; Parental sensitivity; Parenting

PMID:
26797704
DOI:
10.1007/s10578-016-0624-9
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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