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Children of combat-deployed parents show increased worries, even after parent returns
Date:4/8/2010

deployed parents showed elevations in anxiety and depression.

"We also found that the at-home parent showed higher levels of anxiety when their spouse was deployed. But the two key markers for anxiety in the child were the distress levels of both parents and the number of months a parent had been deployed during the child's lifetime."

Interestingly, the study suggests that school-aged boys and girls behave differently during and after a parent's deployment. Girls showed an increase in acting out and disruptive behavior when the parent was deployed, while boys appeared to have more difficulties after the deployed parent returned.

"For the boys, this may be related to reduced autonomy and increased structure in the family life upon the return of the deployed parent," Lester said.

Notably, the children also showed indices of resilience, and their experiences of other types of emotional and behavioral problems were comparable to what is seen normally within any general community of kids.

Lester noted that the military demographic in the U.S. has changed in the past several decades to include a much larger proportion of service members with families. She said planning is needed for extended military operations to take into account the impact on family members.

"These findings suggest that there is a cumulative wear and tear upon the military family from multiple deployments during wartime," she said.

Lester and her colleagues have developed a program to help such military families. Called FOCUS (Families OverComing Under Stress), the program provides both parents and children customized training that addresses the impact of wartime deployment on families and helps them learn very specific communication and problem-solving skills to address these challenges.


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Contact: Mark Wheeler
mwheeler@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2265
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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