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Since the September 11th attacks on the U.S., more than 2 million children have experienced parental deployment during their early years, with potentially lasting impact. When a parent is deployed, a number of factors may affect the well-being of the service member and his/her family. One parental factor—posttraumatic stress disorder or distress—might be particularly powerful in its effect on young children and the family system. We analyzed baseline data from an intervention development project which focused on supporting military families with very young children during post-deployment. The purpose of this research is to understand the relationships between parental mental health status, parenting stress, couple functioning, and young child well-being. The effects of mental health status of home-front and service member parents and the role of couple functioning on parent–child interactions and behavioral problems of young children were examined in a sample of military families during the post-deployment period. Findings suggest that service member posttraumatic stress symptoms are associated with higher parental report of child behavior problems. Higher quality of the couple relationship appears to lessen the impact of parental posttraumatic stress but is not related to parent perceptions of child behavior concerns. Implications for future research with military families are discussed.
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- Very Young Child Well-being in Military Families: A Snapshot
Ellen R. DeVoe
Tessa M. Kritikos
Glenda Kaufman Kantor
- Springer US