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.

  • U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Samuel Taylor, combat videographer, with Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division returns from deployment at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Dec. 19, 2017, photo by Lance Cpl. Tanner Seims/U.S. Marine Corps

    Tool

    A Guide to Evaluating Marine and Family Division Programs, Services, and Capabilities

    Sep 30, 2021

    For Marine and Family Division programs and services to remain meaningful, credible, and practical, their effectiveness must be able to be demonstrated. How might program implementers determine effectiveness and guide efficient use of scarce resources?

  • Spouses of soldiers participate in a Spouse Spur Ride at Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii, November 15, 2008, photo by Sgt. Mike Alberts/U.S. Army

    Report

    How Do Army Spouses Find the Help They Need?

    Dec 15, 2021

    The U.S. Army provides many resources to help soldiers and their families cope with military life. But Army spouses typically learn about services through word-of-mouth rather than through program outreach efforts. The Army could do more to get the word out about available assistance.

Explore Military Families

  • 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 13, 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

    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

    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

    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

  • classroom, empty, chairs, desk, school, table, wood, wooden, room, board, interior, yellow, class, education, floor, furnishings, furniture, indoors, inside, knowledge, learn, lesson, nobody, object, seat, sitting, study, training, educational, schoolroom, seminar, university, work, in a line, row, horizontal

    Report

    The Common Core State Standards and DoD Education Activity Schools

    As it implements the Common Core State Standards, the Department of Defense Education Activity should consider developing and providing implementation-specific supports to its schools.

    Nov 12, 2012

  • appointment with Army Career and Alumni Program counselor

    Report

    Unemployment Among Post-9/11 Veterans and Military Spouses After the Economic Downturn

    Policymakers need to understand whether military spouses succeed at finding jobs and how veterans fare economically after they leave the military. But these groups differ from the civilian population in important ways, making comparisons difficult.

    Nov 9, 2012

  • A Soldier from the Michigan National Guard, is welcomed home by his daughter after a year long tour in Afghanistan on Sept. 28, 2012.

    Blog

    RAND Research for Military Family Month

    RAND is a resource for research and policy recommendations that address the challenges faced by military members, spouses, and their children.

    Nov 7, 2012

  • Report

    Report

    Assessing Operation Purple, a Summer Camp for Military Youth

    Military family support programs have proliferated, but there has been little evaluation of whether the programs are meeting their key objectives. An examination of the curriculum, themes, and outcomes of Operation Purple found some positive effects from participation and helps lay the groundwork for future studies.

    Jul 25, 2012

  • A captain briefs a group of quick reaction force airmen while they board a mine resistant ambush protected vehicle as part of a combat-stress therapy scenario at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, August 20, 2009

    Blog

    RAND Research Contributes to the 11th Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation

    Adequate compensation is critical to recruiting and retaining an all-volunteer force—in peacetime and wartime alike. To assess the effectiveness of U.S. military pay and benefits, the president directs a review of military compensation every four years. Four RAND studies contributed to this review.

    Jun 29, 2012

  • Report

    Report

    What is the Financial Impact of Combat Deaths on Surviving Spouses and Children?

    Over the first four years following the death of a service member, recurring benefits offset more than two-thirds of the losses in estimated household earnings, on average. When combined with the lump-sum benefits the family receives, the benefits are likely sufficient to fully replace the lost earnings for several decades.

    Jun 28, 2012

  • Marine calling a counseling hotline

    Commentary

    Preventing Military Suicides Is a Nationwide Effort

    The numbers of suicides among military personnel is a reminder for us involved in prevention to remain vigilant and work even harder. Let it be a wake-up call to the nation to assume some of the responsibility as well, writes Rajeev Ramchand.

    Jun 14, 2012