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01-09-2013 | Uitgave 3/2013

Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review 3/2013

The Promotional Role of School and Community Contexts for Military Students

Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review > Uitgave 3/2013
Ron Avi Astor, Kris Tunac De Pedro, Tamika D. Gilreath, Monica C. Esqueda, Rami Benbenishty


This article examines how supportive public school environments can serve as a promotional context for the development of children and adolescents from military families. The authors integrate theory and research from multiple research strands (e.g., human development, studies of at-risk youth, educational reform, goodness of fit theory, and school climate) to outline how public schools can support the development of all children and adolescents. This article provides further support for the supposition that school climates and the social-ecological contexts surrounding a school (e.g., universities, communities, school districts) have the potential to protect at-risk children and adolescents from an array of negative social, emotional, and psychological outcomes. The authors draw linkages between these research domains and the development of military children and adolescents. Promotional civilian school environments embedded within supportive and inclusive contexts can create a social infrastructure that supports the development of military children and adolescents. The authors argue that this conceptual approach can create a foundation for interventions and research that focuses on schools as normative supportive developmental settings for military children and youth during challenging times of war (e.g., deployments and multiple school transitions). This article concludes with a discussion of future directions in research on the development of military children and adolescents. Based on a heuristic conceptual model that outlines areas needing further research, the authors call for a deeper theoretical and empirical integration of school climate and external contextual factors surrounding the school. Investigating the social and organizational dynamics within these contexts can result in a more comprehensive picture of the development of military children and adolescents.

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