"Deployment is going to be disruptive anyway, which is probably why we see the overall increased risk of substance use in these children. And then for those children where parental deployment means they end up living outside of the family, it's a double whammy," Arndt says. "The results suggest that when a parent deploys, it may be preferable to place a child with a family member and try to minimize the disruption of the child's living arrangements."
Iowa's military population may be more affected
Because the study surveyed only Iowa children, the nature of Iowa's military population may also affect the results, Arndt notes.
In Iowa, along with Vermont, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, the largest portion of military personnel serve with the Reserve or the National Guard. These groups of military personnel live in civilian communities rather than on military bases and may have limited access to support services and resources designed to help military families.
"States like Iowa that have a large proportion of National Guard may be more affected by this increased risk for children," Arndt says.
Although the UI study findings may be specific to families of National Guardsmen and women, Arndt notes that the results agree with previous research that focused on risky behavior for children of deployed military men and women in Washington state, which unlike Iowa has a large active duty population.
"I think our findings suggest, first, that people need to be aware that for service members and their families this is a real phenomenon, and one that sho
|Contact: Jennifer Brown|
University of Iowa Health Care