Children and Spouses of Deployed Military Members Report Challenges as Responsibilities Increase
Jan 19, 2011
The Experiences of Youth and Spouses from Military Families
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As the United States continues deployments of service members to support operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is increasingly important to understand the effects of this military involvement, not only on service members but also on the health and well-being of their children and spouses. The purpose of this report is to examine the functioning of a sample of youth in military families who applied to a free camp for children of military personnel and to specifically assess how these youth are coping with parental deployment. The report addresses the general well-being of military youth during and after parental deployment, with attention to their emotional, social, and academic functioning. It also examines the challenges that their nondeployed caregivers face. The study includes quantitative and qualitative components: three waves of phone surveys with youth and nondeployed caregivers, and in-depth interviews with a subsample of caregivers. The researchers found that children and caregivers who had applied to attend the camp confronted challenges to their emotional well-being and functioning. Four factors in particular (1) poorer caregiver emotional well-being, (2) more cumulative months of deployment, (3) National Guard or Reserve status, and (4) poor quality of family communication were strongly associated with greater youth or caregiver difficulties.
The Experience of Military Youth in the Study Sample
The Experience of Caregivers in the Study Sample
Conclusions and Recommendations
Baseline Sample Recruitment: Additional Detail
Technical Details for Quantitative Analyses
Program Participant Recommendations
The research described in this report was sponsored by the National Military Family Association, with funding from the Robertson Foundation and the Sierra Club Foundation. The research was conducted jointly by RAND Health's Center for Military Health Policy Research and the Forces and Resources Policy Center of the RAND National Security Research Division.
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