The Longitudinal Study of Deployment and Military Families

Rationale

Over 500,000 American children currently have a parent deployed on active duty. American support for the families of troops is based on a belief that those who serve our country should not sacrifice the success of their children and families.  In addition to an array of family support initiatives sponsored by the military there are dozens of private programs to assist military families especially during deployment.  Ideally the design and operation of programs to help military families would be informed by research on what military families actually need and how they cope with deployment.

Everything we know about deployment and families comes from cross sectional studies.  This limitation makes it impossible to know whether family problems that surface during deployment are caused by the deployment or are pre-existing. Nobody knows how long the signs of child stress and anxiety that are seen during deployment will last after a parent returns. Prior research is typically limited by small sample sizes or by an exclusive reliance on focus groups. 

 

Objective of the Longitudinal Study

The objective of the study is to collect longitudinal data on the effects of paternal deployment on family outcomes in order to inform military planners and military impacted schools and communities how best to be supportive during deployment. Outcomes to be studied include:

 

·                     Maternal stress and adjustment

·                     Child health and anxiety

·                     Disruptions in school and child care

Details

Sample of 2000 children from Army and Navy

Young child sample age 3-4 and Older child sample age 9-10

Enrolled prior to father's deployment

Followed annually during and after deployment

 

 

    Contact:  Dr. David Bishai, Associate Professor Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health at dbishai@jhsph.edu

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