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Abstract

Use of the Guard and Reserve has steadily increased since the first Gulf War in the early 1990s, and this trend is likely to continue as the Global War on Terror persists. Previous research on how deployments affect military families has focused almost exclusively on the Active Component; however, demographic differences between active component and reserve component families suggest that the latter may face different issues during deployment and consequently require different types of support. Castaneda et al. interviewed military family experts and guard and reserve service members and spouses about topics including family readiness for deployment, the problems and positives associated with deployment, family coping, resources used by these families for deployment support, and service member military career intentions. The authors analyzed data from over 600 interviews to provide a better understanding of the major issues faced by guard and reserve families, how they vary among families who differ demographically, and how they may relate to military career intentions. Castaneda et al. conclude with suggestions on how the Department of Defense can better support guard and reserve families, noting that such efforts can both promote general family well-being and increase service member readiness and retention.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    What Are the Characteristics of Guard and Reserve Families?

  • Chapter Three

    How Ready Are Guard and Reserve Families?

  • Chapter Four

    What Problems Do Guard and Reserve Families Report?

  • Chapter Five

    What Positives Do Guard and Reserve Families Report?

  • Chapter Six

    How Well Do Guard and Reserve Families Cope?

  • Chapter Seven

    What Resources Do Guard and Reserve Families Use During Deployment?

  • Chapter Eight

    How Do Guard and Reserve Families' Retention Plans Differ?

  • Chapter Nine

    What Are Guard and Reserve Families' Suggestions for Better Support?

  • Chapter Ten

    Conclusion and Recommendations

  • Appendix A

    Expert Interviews

  • Appendix B

    Service Member and Spouse Interviews

The research described in this report was prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The research was conducted in the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the OSD, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Department of the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation monograph series. RAND monographs present major research findings that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND monographs undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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