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Military children face more emotional challenges as parental deployments grow longer, study finds
Date:12/7/2009

Children in military families may suffer from more emotional and behavioral difficulties when compared to other American youths, with older children and girls struggling the most when a parent is deployed overseas, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

Researchers found that having a parent deployed for a longer period of time and having a non-deployed parent who has struggled with emotional problems were important factors associated with whether military children would struggle themselves, according to the study published online by the journal Pediatrics.

The findings are from a RAND survey that examined the wartime well-being of 1,500 children from military families from across the nation, surveying both the children and a non-deployed parent or other caregiver.

"Our study suggests that children of deployed service members face emotional and behavioral challenges," said Anita Chandra, the study's lead author and a behavioral scientist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. "While this finding may seem intuitive, our study begins to shed more light on the nature of the problem. Much more work is needed to better understand these challenges and to improve ways to support children throughout the deployment cycle."

The RAND study is the largest to date that explores how the children of military members are faring academically, socially and emotionally during an extended period of wartime. The project was commissioned by the National Military Family Association, an independent nonprofit group that provides support and services to military families.

"Our nation did not anticipate such protracted conflicts. We owe it to military families to better understand and address the challenges they are facing today, and may face tomorrow," said Mary Scott, chairman of the board of governors of the National Military Family Association. "By commissioning this research, we are taking the first steps to do just tha
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Contact: Warren Robak
robak@rand.org
310-451-6913
RAND Corporation
Source:Eurekalert

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