Military Families

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Extended and repeated deployments can cause significant stress to military families and may result in lower levels of reenlistment. RAND research has explored the need for military-sponsored child care and the role of military spouses, and continues to provide guidance to policymakers on how to attract and retain personnel with essential skills while also supporting military families.

  • A woman hugging her soldier son or grandson

    Essay

    Military Caregivers Share the Costs of War

    Oct 30, 2017

    Millions of veterans and service members receive care from family and friends who need support as well. Military caregivers sacrifice their time, their jobs, and even their health to provide a service worth billions of dollars to the United States. RAND research illuminates who they are, what they do, and what they need to succeed.

  • U.S. Army officer returning from Afghanistan holds his son for the first time during a redeployment ceremony at Fort Hood, December 9, 2016

    Report

    Are Soldiers Getting What They Need?

    Oct 9, 2017

    In addition to typical household issues, U.S. military families deal with unique challenges, such as deployments and frequent moves. A survey of more than 7,000 active-duty soldiers provides insight into the problems they face, their needs, and the resources they use.

Explore Military Families

  • Sgt. First Class Richard Martinez is given the Milton Award that recognizes achievements in military intelligence during a redeployment ceremony

    Commentary

    Dear Military Spouses: I'm Sorry

    Kayla Williams describes her difficult transition from soldier to spouse, sergeant to civilian, team leader to caregiver. Two books by military wives opened her eyes to the challenges and rewards of marrying into the military, and the unique kind of service military families experience.

    Feb 27, 2014

  • Air Force veteran Cherokee was the lead organizer of an event in January in Reading, Pa. to help feed and clothe local veterans, many of whom are homeless

    Commentary

    Will America Forget Its Veterans?

    The needs of U.S. veterans will not end when the war does; they will just be beginning. Though over a lifetime veterans are more highly educated, employed, and paid than their civilian counterparts, the period of reintegration can be challenging.

    Feb 18, 2014

  • Report

    The Association Between Base-Area Social and Economic Characteristics and Airmen's Outcomes

    This report shows whether and how base-area characteristics are associated with individual-level Airman outcomes across several different domains, including health and well-being, social cohesion, and ratings of neighborhood resources.

    Feb 3, 2014

  • Vice President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House John Boehner applaud as President Barack Obama finishes his State of the Union speech on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 28, 2014

    Blog

    State of the Union 2014: President Obama Calls for a Year of Action

    Obama called for “a year of action” to achieve his 2014 agenda — from helping people sign up for health insurance, to immigration reform, to completing the mission in Afghanistan. RAND is committed to raising the level of public policy debates and offering evidence-based, actionable solutions.

    Jan 29, 2014

  • Journal Article

    Home Front: Post-Deployment Mental Health and Divorces

    In this article, we examine how post-deployment symptoms of PTSD and of other mental health conditions are related to the probability of divorce among married active-duty U.S. Army soldiers.

    Jan 1, 2014

  • a man in a wheelchair with his wife and caregiver

    Commentary

    They Also Serve: Understanding the Needs of Military Caregivers

    Military families play a critical role in supporting U.S. servicemembers during deployment and afterwards. Equally vital but often less visible is the role played by those who care for the servicemembers who return with disabling injuries or illnesses and require long-term support beyond what the formal health care system provides.

    Nov 18, 2013

  • Report

    Social Fitness and Resilience: A Review of Relevant Constructs, Measures, and Links to Well-Being

    One of a series of reports designed to support Air Force leadership in promoting resilience among Airmen, its civilian employees, and Air Force family members, this report examines social fitness, or the combination of resources from social connections that influence how individuals respond to stressful circumstances. It assesses the current social fitness constructs and measures in scientific literature to identify methods of increasing social connectedness and support among U.S. Airmen and their families.

    Oct 3, 2013

  • Research Brief

    Reintegration After Deployment: Supporting Citizen Warriors and Their Families

    A RAND study of the challenges that reserve component service members and their families face after deployment and the factors that contribute to successful reintegration led to a series of recommendations for the U.S. Department of Defense.

    Sep 17, 2013

  • military woman and man in uniforms

    News Release

    Lengthy Military Deployments Increase Divorce Risk for U.S. Enlisted Service Members

    The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been hard on military marriages, with the risk of divorce rising directly in relation to the length of time enlisted service members have been deployed to combat zones. The negative effects of deployment were largest among female military members.

    Sep 3, 2013

  • Family members rush to greet their Soldiers after a homecoming ceremony for the 109th Transportation Company July 6 at Buckner Physical Fitness Center on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. The 109th moved cargo and supplies and mentored Afghan National Army Soldiers in eastern Afghanistan during its yearlong deployment.

    Report

    Support for the 21st-Century Reserve Force: Insights to Facilitate Successful Reintegration for Citizen Warriors and Their Families

    Data collected from families and resource providers offer insights on how well these personnel and their families fare after deployment, the challenges they face during that time frame, the strategies and resources they use to navigate the reintegration phase, and how to ensure that reintegration proceeds as smoothly as possible.

    Aug 28, 2013

  • An Army family poses for a photograph

    Report

    Strategically Aligned Family Research: Supporting Soldier and Family Quality of Life Research for Policy Decisionmaking

    The U.S. Army wants to develop a research agenda that defines the Quality of Life (QOL) needs of soldiers and families, helps gauge the success of programs, improves coordination of research efforts, and determines how best to allocate resources. Analysis suggests that both domain-specific research and a broader, more holistic understanding of QOL — to put domain-specific research in context — are critical.

    May 31, 2013

  • tags and American flag

    Commentary

    Research Is a Fundamental Component of Suicide Prevention

    While our research has taught us many things about suicide prevention, we think additional research is critically needed in two areas, writes Rajeev Ramchand. The first is gun control. The second area is the quality of behavioral health care available to those who need it.

    May 24, 2013

  • Blog

    At 65, RAND Continues to Make a Difference

    To celebrate our first 60 years, we created 60 Ways RAND Has Made a Difference, an online book to illustrate our most notable contributions. On our 65th birthday, we provide five of the most recent ways in which we at RAND are proud to have made a difference.

    May 14, 2013

  • man in wheelchair with caregiver

    Commentary

    A National Strategy for Supporting Military Caregivers

    The act of caring for a veteran takes a physical, mental, and economic toll on caregivers and their families. Giving caregivers the skills and resources they need to cope and thrive should be as much a priority as giving veterans medical care.

    Mar 7, 2013

  • News Release

    Military Caregivers Aid Injured Warriors, but Little Is Known About Their Needs

    Spouses, family members, and others who provide informal care to U.S. military members after they return home from conflict often toil long hours with little support, putting them at risk for physical, emotional, and financial harm.

    Mar 7, 2013

  • a man sitting in a wheelchair with his partner or wife at his shoulder

    Report

    Military Caregivers Aid Injured Warriors, but Little Is Known About Their Needs

    Spouses, family members, and others who provide informal care to U.S. military members after they return home from conflict often toil long hours with little support, putting them at risk for physical, emotional, and financial harm.

    Mar 7, 2013

  • The Netzaberg military family housing area

    Report

    Exploring the Association Between Military Base Neighborhood Characteristics and Soldiers' and Airmen's Outcomes

    This report explores how neighborhood theory and social indicators research shed light on quality of life in and around military bases, gaps in the methodology, and how a more in-depth analysis of military installations could be conducted.

    Jan 24, 2013

  • Report

    Employer Partnership Program Analysis of Alternatives

    The Employer Partnership Program (EPP) supports U.S. military reservists and their civilian employers, and maintains a website that allows employers to recruit among reservists, veterans, and family members. This study analyzed usage data from the EPP's website, conducted case studies of Army Reserve units, and interviewed program stakeholders.

    Jan 7, 2013

  • Journal Article

    Gone to War: Have Deployments Increased Divorces?

    In this paper, we use longitudinal individual-level administrative data from 1999 to 2008 and find that an additional month in deployment increases the divorce hazard of military families, with females being more affected.

    Jan 1, 2013

  • couple consoling each other in front of Christmas tree

    Commentary

    Supporting Families Affected by Military Suicide Should Be a Priority for All

    While many of these families fight for honor and respect from the DoD or support from the VA, the comfort that they need will not be provided by either institution, nor should it be. Rather, it is up to us—as their neighbors, coworkers, teachers, and students—to shower these families with the love and support they need and deserve, writes Rajeev Ramchand.

    Nov 29, 2012