Understanding and Supporting the Resilience of a New Generation of Combat-Exposed Military Families and Their Children
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Taking our nation to war has exposed a generation of military families and children to combat and its consequences. Every dollar spent on bullets, trucks, fuel, and food carried a future ‘tax’ in the form of consequences for psychological and physical health and family relationships. In this commentary, I focus on several themes that emerge from the special collection or articles. For example, I consider how best to define the ecological niche(s) occupied by military-connected children and families. Not surprisingly given significant gaps in our knowledge, evidence regarding the well-being of military-connected children is mixed. I also consider the multi-layered environments within which individuals and families function, recognizing both the challenges and opportunities they provide. The need to respond rapidly to the evolving needs of military families has highlighted the value of both prevention science and implementation science. Public health models emphasizing a full continuum of care that emphasizes not only treatment but also universal, selective, and indicated prevention also are appealing given the uneven density, uncertain locations, and unknown identities of military families in civilian communities (Beardslee 2013; Murphy and Fairbank 2013). Finally, it is important to recognize that we are at the beginning, not the end, of the post-war lifetimes for the new generation of veterans and their families.
KeywordsMilitary families Deployment Resilience Development Context
I am very appreciative to Patricia Lester and Blair Paley for helpful suggestions during the preparation of this commentary.
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