Developmental and behavioral implications for military children with deployed parents
- Molinda Chartrand, MD
Molinda Chartrand, MD
- Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics
- Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences (USUHS)
- Section Editors
- Jan E Drutz, MD
Jan E Drutz, MD
- Section Editor — General Pediatrics
- Professor of Pediatrics
- Baylor College of Medicine
- Marilyn Augustyn, MD
Marilyn Augustyn, MD
- Section Editor — Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
- Associate Professor
- Boston University School of Medicine
With the United States military involved in conflicts around the world, more children in military families experience parental absence . For a military child, wartime deployment can mean prolonged separation from a parent, fear for that parent's safety, and increased uncertainty in daily routine.
This topic will provide an overview of the developmental and behavioral implications of deployment for children of parents in the military.
Approximately 2.7 million United States military service members have experienced at least one deployment to Afghanistan or Iraq since April 2001 . Nearly 2 million children in United States military families have been affected by a service member deployment since the start of military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan .
Of the 2.5 million active duty and reserve military members, 36 percent are married with children, 6.6 percent are single parents, and 2.3 percent are dual military families with children . In 2013, approximately 1.9 million United States children had at least one parent in the military; 62 percent had a parent in the active duty component; and 38 percent in the reserve component (National Guard or Reserve). Approximately 37 percent of children in military families are between birth and 5 years of age, 30 percent are aged 6 to 11 years, 25 percent are 12 years to 18, and 7 percent are 19 to 22 years.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Deployment – A deployment is the short term assignment of a military service member to a combat or noncombat zone. A deployment can last from 1 to 18 months, with typical deployments lasting 12 to 15 months . Deployments can be planned or unexpected.
- Department of Defense, Public Affairs Office. Number of Members Deployed by Service Component and Month/Year (based on Contingency Tracking Systems). 2007. Available at: https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/appj/dwp/dwp_reports.jsp (Accessed on June 15, 2015).
- Siegel BS, Davis BE, Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health and Section on Uniformed Services. Health and mental health needs of children in US military families. Pediatrics 2013; 131:e2002.
- 2013 Demographics. Profile of the military community. Available at: http://download.militaryonesource.mil/12038/MOS/Reports/2013-Demographics-Report.pdf (Accessed on June 15, 2015).
- Chandra A, Burns RM, Tenielian T, et al. Understanding the impact of deployment on children and families. Findings from a pilot study of operation Purple Camp. Rand Center for Military Health Policy Research www.rand.org/pubs/working_papers/2008/RAND_WR566.pdf.
- Lemmon KM, Chartrand MM. Caring for America's children: military youth in time of war. Pediatr Rev 2009; 30:e42.
- Davis BE, Blaschke GS, Stafford EM. Military children, families, and communities: supporting those who serve. Pediatrics 2012; 129 Suppl 1:S3.
- Zero to Three. Honoring our babies and toddlers: Supporting young children affected by a military parent's deployment, injury, or death. Washington, DC 2009. Available at: http://main.zerotothree.org/site/DocServer/GuideFinalMay27.pdf?docID=9322 (Accessed on June 17, 2015).
- Aranda MC, Middleton LS, Flake E, Davis BE. Psychosocial screening in children with wartime-deployed parents. Mil Med 2011; 176:402.
- Chartrand MM, Siegel B. At war in Iraq and Afghanistan: children in US military families. Ambul Pediatr 2007; 7:1.
- Lamberg L. When military parents are sent to war, children left behind need ample support. JAMA 2004; 292:1541.
- Gawande A. Casualties of war--military care for the wounded from Iraq and Afghanistan. N Engl J Med 2004; 351:2471.
- Pincus SH, House R, Christensen J, Adler LF. The emotional cycle of deployment: a military family perspective. AMEDD Journal 2001; 2:615.
- MacDermid SM. Multiple Transitions of Deployment and Reunion for Military Families. Purdue University, 2006. Available at: www.cfs.purdue.edu/mfri/pages/research/DeployReunion.pdf (Accessed on August 23, 2011).
- Hosek JR, Kavanagh J, Miller L. How deployments affect service members The RAND Corporation. Santa Monica, CA, 2006. Available at: www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG432 (Accessed on August 23, 2011).
- Jensen PS, Grogan D, Xenakis SN, Bain MW. Father absence: effects on child and maternal psychopathology. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 1989; 28:171.
- Report on the impact of deployment of members of the armed forces on their dependent children. October 2010. Available at: www.militaryonesource.mil/12038/MOS/Reports/Report_to_Congress_on_Impact_of_Deployment_on_Military_Children.pdf (Accessed on May 29, 2013).
- Levai M, Kaplan S, Ackermann R, Hammock M. The effect of father absence on the psychiatric hospitalization of Navy children. Mil Med 1995; 160:104.
- Cozza SJ, Chun RS, Polo JA. Military families and children during operation Iraqi freedom. Psychiatr Q 2005; 76:371.
- Peebles-Kleiger MJ, Kleiger JH. Re-integration stress for Desert Storm families: wartime deployments and family trauma. J Trauma Stress 1994; 7:173.
- Kelley ML, Hock E, Smith KM, et al. Internalizing and externalizing behavior of children with enlisted Navy mothers experiencing military-induced separation. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 2001; 40:464.
- Kelley ML. The effects of military-induced separation on family factors and child behavior. Am J Orthopsychiatry 1994; 64:103.
- Card NA, Bosch L, Casper DM, et al. A meta-analytic review of internalizing, externalizing, and academic adjustment among children of deployed military service members. J Fam Psychol 2011; 25:508.
- Cederbaum JA, Gilreath TD, Benbenishty R, et al. Well-being and suicidal ideation of secondary school students from military families. J Adolesc Health 2014; 54:672.
- Hisle-Gorman E, Harrington D, Nylund CM, et al. Impact of parents' wartime military deployment and injury on young children's safety and mental health. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 2015; 54:294.
- Sullivan K, Capp G, Gilreath TD, et al. Substance Abuse and Other Adverse Outcomes for Military-Connected Youth in California: Results From a Large-Scale Normative Population Survey. JAMA Pediatr 2015; 169:922.
- Nice DS. longitudinal analysis of Navy family separation in San Diego, CA. Navy Personnel Research and Development Center, San Diego, CA 1981.
- Rosen LN, Teitelbaum JM, Westhuis DJ. Children's reactions to the Desert Storm deployment: initial findings from a survey of Army families. Mil Med 1993; 158:465.
- Jensen PS, Martin D, Watanabe H. Children's response to parental separation during operation desert storm. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 1996; 35:433.
- Jensen PS, Xenakis SN, Wolf P, Bain MW. The "military family syndrome" revisited: "by the numbers". J Nerv Ment Dis 1991; 179:102.
- Chartrand MM, Frank DA, White LF, Shope TR. Effect of parents' wartime deployment on the behavior of young children in military families. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2008; 162:1009.
- Lester P, Peterson K, Reeves J, et al. The long war and parental combat deployment: effects on military children and at-home spouses. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 2010; 49:310.
- Reed SC, Bell JF, Edwards TC. Adolescent well-being in Washington state military families. Am J Public Health 2011; 101:1676.
- Mansfield AJ, Kaufman JS, Engel CC, Gaynes BN. Deployment and mental health diagnoses among children of US Army personnel. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2011; 165:999.
- Chandra A, Lara-Cinisomo S, Jaycox LH, et al. Children on the homefront: the experience of children from military families. Pediatrics 2010; 125:16.
- Huebner AJ, Mancini JA, Wilcox RM, et al. Parental deployment and youth in military families: exploring uncertainty and ambiguous loss. Family Relations 2007; 56:112.
- Barnes VA, Davis H, Treiber FA. Perceived stress, heart rate, and blood pressure among adolescents with family members deployed in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Mil Med 2007; 172:40.
- Chandra A, Martin LT, Hawkins SA, Richardson A. The impact of parental deployment on child social and emotional functioning: perspectives of school staff. J Adolesc Health 2010; 46:218.
- Acion L, Ramirez MR, Jorge RE, Arndt S. Increased risk of alcohol and drug use among children from deployed military families. Addiction 2013; 108:1418.
- Gilreath TD, Cederbaum JA, Astor RA, et al. Substance use among military-connected youth: the California Healthy Kids Survey. Am J Prev Med 2013; 44:150.
- Gorman GH, Eide M, Hisle-Gorman E. Wartime military deployment and increased pediatric mental and behavioral health complaints. Pediatrics 2010; 126:1058.
- Dunn AC, Black CL, Arnold J, et al. Childhood vaccination coverage rates among military dependents in the United States. Pediatrics 2015; 135:e1148.
- Eide M, Gorman G, Hisle-Gorman E. Effects of parental military deployment on pediatric outpatient and well-child visit rates. Pediatrics 2010; 126:22.
- Rentz ED, Marshall SW, Loomis D, et al. Effect of deployment on the occurrence of child maltreatment in military and nonmilitary families. Am J Epidemiol 2007; 165:1199.
- Gibbs DA, Martin SL, Kupper LL, Johnson RE. Child maltreatment in enlisted soldiers' families during combat-related deployments. JAMA 2007; 298:528.
- Taylor CM, Ross ME, Wood JN, et al. Differential Child Maltreatment Risk Across Deployment Periods of US Army Soldiers. Am J Public Health 2016; 106:153.
- Jensen PS, Shaw JA. The effects of war and parental deployment upon children and adolescents. In: Emotional Aftermath of the Persian Gulf War, Ursano RJ, Norwood AE (Eds), American Psychiatric Press, Washington, DC 1996. p.83.
- Flake EM, Davis BE, Johnson PL, Middleton LS. The psychosocial effects of deployment on military children. J Dev Behav Pediatr 2009; 30:271.
- Drummet AR, Coleman M, Cable S. Military families under stress: implications for family life education. Family Relations 2003; 42:279.
- American Psychological Association. Presidential Task Force on Military Deployment Services for Youth, Families, and Service Members. The psychological neeeds of US military service members and their families: a preliminary report. American Psychological Association, Washington, DC 2007. Available at: www.ptsd.ne.gov/publications/military-deployment-task-force-report.pdf (Accessed on February 29, 2012).
- Rauch P, Ohye B, Bostic J, Maske B. A toolkit for the well-child screening of military children. Available at: www.homebaseprogram.org/pdf/HomeBase_toolkit.pdf (Accessed on February 28, 2012).
- Ginsburg KR, Jablow MM. A Parent's Guide to Building Reslience in Children and Teens, American Academy of Pediatrics, Elk Grove Village, IL 2006.
- Booth B, Segal MW, Bell DB, et al. What we know about army families: 2007 update. Caliber Associates, Fairfax, VA 2007. Available at: www.mwrbrandcentral.com/HOMEPAGE/Graphics/Research/whatweknow2007.pdf (Accessed on February 29, 2012).
- National Military Family Association. Report on the cycles of deployment, 2005. http://www.militaryfamily.org/assets/pdf/NMFACyclesofDeployment9.pdf (Accessed on February 29, 2012).
- Davis BE. Parental wartime deployment and the use of mental health services among young military children. Pediatrics 2010; 126:1215.
- Rotheram-Borus MJ, Lee MB, Gwadz M, Draimin B. An intervention for parents with AIDS and their adolescent children. Am J Public Health 2001; 91:1294.
- Beardslee WR, Avery MW, Ayoub C, et al. Family connections: helping Early Head Start/Head Start staff and parents address mental health challenges. Zero to Three 2009; 29:34.
- National Research Council and Institute of Medicine. Depression in Parents, Parenting, and Children: Opportunities to Improve Identification, Treatment and Prevention, National Academies Press, Washington, DC 2009.
- Lester P, Rotheram-Borus MJ, Elia C, et al. TALK: teens and adults learning to communicate. In: Evidence-Based Treatment Manuals for Children and Adolescents, LeCroy CW (Ed), Oxford University Press, New York 2008. p.170.
- Lester P, Saltzman WR, Woodward K, et al. Evaluation of a family-centered prevention intervention for military children and families facing wartime deployments. Am J Public Health 2012; 102 Suppl 1:S48.
- Teens Coping with Parental Military Deployment (Helping Hand). http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01128777 (Accessed on February 29, 2012).