Advertisement

Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 27, Issue 7, pp 2138–2148 | Cite as

Very Young Child Well-being in Military Families: A Snapshot

  • Ellen R. DeVoe
  • Tessa M. Kritikos
  • Ben Emmert-Aronson
  • Glenda Kaufman Kantor
  • Ruth Paris
Original Paper

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Posttraumatic stress Parenting stress Military families Young children Deployment 

Notes

Author Contributions

E.R.D.: Designed and executed the study, wrote the paper. B.E.A.: Conducted data analysis and wrote methods and results. T.M.K.: Collaborated with the design and writing of the study. G.K.K.: Collaborated with the design and analysis of study. R.P.: Collaborated in the execution of the study.

Funding

This research was supported by a grant provided to Dr. Ellen DeVoe and Dr. Ruth Paris by the Department of Defense, Grant #W81XWH-08-1-0230. The views expressed in this presentation are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in this research involving human subjects were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Boston University and U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USARMRMC) Human Research Protections Office (HRPO).

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants in this research.

References

  1. Abidin, R. (1997). Parenting Stress Index: A measure of the parent-child system. In C. P. Zalaquett & R. J. Wood (Eds.), Evaluating stress: A book of resources (Vol. 1, pp. 277–291). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press.Google Scholar
  2. Achenbach, T. M. (2009). The Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessemnt (ASEBA): Development, Findings, Theory, and Applications. Burlington, VT: University of Vermont Research Center for Children, Youth, & Families.Google Scholar
  3. Achenbach, T. M., & Rescorla, L. A. (2000). Child behavior checklist. Burlington, VT: University of Vermont.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Allen, E. S., Rhoades, G. K., Stanley, S. M., & Markman, H. J. (2010). Hitting home: Relationships between recent deployment, posttraumatic stress symptoms, and marital functioning for Army couples. Journal of Family Psychology, 24(3), 280  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0019405.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  5. American Psychological Association. (2002). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct. Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  6. Barker, L. H., & Berry, K. D. (2009). Developmental issues impacting military families with young children during single and multiple deployments. Military Medicine, 174(10), 1033–1040.  https://doi.org/10.7205/MILMED-D-04-1108.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Bliese, P. D., Wright, K. M., Adler, A. B., Cabrera, O., Castro, C. A., & Hoge, C. W. (2008). Validating the primary care posttraumatic stress disorder screen and the posttraumatic stress disorder checklist with soldiers returning from combat. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 76(2), 272–281.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-006X.76.2.272.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Brockman, C., Snyder, J., Gewirtz, A., Gird, S. R., Quattlebaum, J., Schmidt, N., & Zettle, R. (2015). Relationship of Service Members’ Deployment Trauma, PTSD Symptoms, and Experiential Avoidance to Postdeployment Family Reengagement. Journal of Family Psychology, 30(1), 52–62.  https://doi.org/10.1037/fam0000152.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  9. Chandra, A., Lara-Cinisomo, S., Jaycox, L. H., Tanielian, T., Burns, R. M., Ruder, T., & Han, B. (2010). Children on the homefront: The experience of children from military families. Pediatrics, 125(1), 16–25.  https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2009-1180.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Chartrand, M. M., Frank, D. A., White, L. F., & Shope, T. R. (2008). Effect of parents’ wartime deployment on the behavior of young children in military families. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 162(11), 1009–1014.  https://doi.org/10.1001/archpedi.162.11.1009.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cozza, S. J., Guimond, J. M., McKibben, J., Chun, R. S., Arata‐Maiers, T. L., Schneider, B., & Ursano, R. J. (2010). Combat-injured service members and their families: The relationship of child distress and spouse-perceived family distress and disruption. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 23(1), 112–115.  https://doi.org/10.1002/jts.20488.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Dayton, C. J., Walsh, T. B., Muzik, M., Erwin, M., & Rosenblum, K. L. (2014). Strong, safe, and secure: Negotiating early fathering and military service across the deployment cycle. Infant Mental Health Journal, 35(5), 509–520.  https://doi.org/10.1002/imhj.21465.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Derogatis, L (1975–1993). Brief symptom inventory. Paramus, NJ: National Computer Systems. .Google Scholar
  14. Derogatis, L. R., & Melisaratos, N. (1983). The brief symptom inventory: An introductory report. Psychological Medicine: A Journal of Research in Psychiatry and the Allied Sciences, 13(3), 595–605.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. DeVoe, E. R., & Paris, R. (2015). Engaging military fathers in a reflective parenting program. Zero to Three Journal, 35(5), 43–48.Google Scholar
  16. DeVoe, E. R., & Ross, A. (2012). The parenting cycle of deployment. Military Medicine, 177(2), 184–90.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Flake, E. M., Davis, B. E., Johnson, P. L., & Middleton, L. S. (2009). The psychosocial effects of deployment on military children. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 30(4), 271–278.  https://doi.org/10.1097/DBP.0b013e3181aac6e4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gewirtz, A. H., Polusny, M. A., DeGarmo, D. S., Khaylis, A., & Erbes, C. R. (2010). Posttraumatic stress symptoms among National Guard soldiers deployed to Iraq: Associations with parenting behaviors and couple adjustment. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 78(5), 599–610.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0020571.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  19. Gewirtz, A. H. & Zamirt, O. (2013). The impact of parental deployment to war on children: the crucial role of parenting. In: In J. B. Benson(ed.) Advances in child development and behavior. https://doi.org/10.1111/sltb.12255.Google Scholar
  20. Glenn, D. M., Beckham, J. C., Feldman, M. E., Kirby, A. C., Hertzberg, M. A., & Moore, S. D. (2002). Violence and hostility among families of Vietnam veterans with combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder. Violence and Victims, 17(4), 473–489.  https://doi.org/10.1891/vivi.17.4.473.33685.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Gold, J. I., Taft, C. T., Keehn, M. G., King, D. W., King, L. A., & Samper, R. E. (2007). PTSD symptom severity and family adjustment among female Vietnam veterans. Military Psychology, 19(2), 71–81.  https://doi.org/10.1080/08995600701323368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gorman, G. H., Eide, M., & Hisle-Gorman, E. (2010). Wartime military deployment and increased pediatric mental and behavioral health complaints. Pediatrics, 126(6), 1058–1066.  https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2009-2856.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Hisle-Gorman, E., Harrington, D., Nylund, C. M., Tercyak, K. P., Anthony, B. J., & Gorman, G. H. (2015). Impact of parents’ wartime military deployment and injury on young children’s safety and mental health. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 54(4), 294–301.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaac.2014.12.017.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Institute of Medicine. (2010). Returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan: Preliminary assessment of readjustment needs of veterans, service members, and their families. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  25. Janke-Stredronsky, S., Greenawalt, D. S., Stock, E. M., Tsan, J. Y., MacCarthy, A. A., MacCarthy, D. J., & Copeland, L. A. (2016). Association of parental status and diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder among veterans of operations Iraqi and enduring freedom. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 8(1), 72–79.  https://doi.org/10.1037/tra0000014.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Jordan, B. K., Marmar, C. R., Fairbank, J. A., Schlenger, W. E., Kulka, R. A., Hough, R. L., & Weiss, D. S. (1992). Problems in families of male Vietnam veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 60(6), 916–926.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-006X.60.6.916.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Khaylis, A., Polusny, M. A., Erbes, C. R., Gewirtz, A., & Rath, M. (2011). Posttraumatic stress, family adjustment, and treatment preferences among National Guard soldiers deployed to OEF/OIF. Military Medicine, 176(2), 126–131.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Kim-Cohen, J., Moffitt, T. E., Taylor, A., Pawlby, S. J., & Caspi, A. (2005). Maternal depression and children’s antisocial behavior: nature and nurture effects. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62(2), 173–181.  https://doi.org/10.1001/archpsyc.62.2.173.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Leen-Feldner, E. W., Feldner, M. T., Knapp, A., Bunaciu, L., Blumenthal, H., & Amstadter, A. B. (2013). Offspring psychological and biological correlates of parental posttraumatic stress: Review of the literature and research agenda. Clinical Psychology Review, 33(8), 1106–1133.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2013.09.001.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Mansfield, A. J., Kaufman, J. S., Engel, C. C., & Gaynes, B. N. (2011). Deployment and mental health diagnoses among children of US Army personnel. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 165(11), 999–1005.  https://doi.org/10.1001/archpediatrics.2011.123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Meis, L. A., Barry, R. A., Kehle, S. M., Erbes, C. R., & Polusny, M. A. (2010). Relationship adjustment, PTSD symptoms, and treatment utilization among coupled National Guard soldiers deployed to Iraq. Journal of Family Psychology, 24(5), 560–567.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0020925.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Monson, C. M., & Fredman, S. J. (2012). Cognitive-behavioral conjoint therapy for PTSD: Harnessing the healing power of relationships. New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  33. Petty, C. R., Rosenbaum, J. F., Hirshfeld-Becker, D. R., Henin, A., Hubley, S., LaCasse, S., & Biederman, J. (2008). The child behavior checklist broad-band scales predict subsequent psychopathology: A 5-year follow-up. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 22(3), 532–539.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.janxdis.2007.04.003.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Riggs, D. S., Byrne, C. A., Weathers, F. W., & Litz, B. T. (1998). The quality of the intimate relationships of male Vietnam veterans: Problems associated with posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 11(1), 87–101.  https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1024409200155.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Ruscio, A. M., Weathers, F. W., King, L. A., & King, D. W. (2002). Male war-zone veterans’ perceived relationships with their children: The importance of emotional numbing. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 15(5), 351–357.  https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1020125006371.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Samper, R. E., Taft, C. T., King, D. W., & King, L. A. (2004). Posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms and parenting satisfaction among a national sample of male Vietnam veterans. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 17(4), 311–315.  https://doi.org/10.1023/B:JOTS.0000038479.30903.ed.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Sayers, S. L., Farrow, V. A., Ross, J., & Oslin, D. W. (2009). Family problems among recently returned military veterans referred for a mental health evaluation. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 70(2), 163–171.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Seal, K. H., Bertenthal, D., Miner, C. R., Sen, S., & Marmar, C. (2007). Bringing the war back home: Mental health disorders among 103,788 US veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan seen at Department of Veterans Affairs Facilities. Archives of Internal Medicine, 167(5), 476–482.  https://doi.org/10.1001/archinte.167.5.476.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Seal, K. H., Metzler, T. J., Gima, K. S., Bertenthal, D., Maguen, S., & Marmar, C. R. (2009). Trends and risk factors for mental health diagnoses among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans using Department of Veterans Affairs health care, 2002–2008. American Journal of Public Health, 99(9), 1651–1658.  https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2008.150284.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  40. Shea, M. T., Vujanovic, A. A., Mansfield, A. K., Sevin, E., & Liu, F. (2010). Posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms and functional impairment among OEF and OIF National Guard and Reserve veterans. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 23(1), 100–107.  https://doi.org/10.1002/jts.20497.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Solomon, Z., Debby-Aharon, S., Zerach, G., & Horesh, D. (2011). Marital adjustment, parental functioning, and emotional sharing in war veterans. Journal of Family Issues, 32(1), 127–147.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0192513X10379203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Tanielian, T. L. & Jaycox, L. (Eds.) (2008). Invisible wounds of war: Psychological and cognitive injuries, their consequences, and services to assist recovery. (Vol. 1) San Diego, CA: RAND Corporation.Google Scholar
  43. Trautmann, J., Alhusen, J., & Gross, D. (2015). Impact of deployment on military families with young children: A systematic review. Nursing Outlook, 63(6), 656–679.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.outlook.2015.06.002.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs: National Center for PTSD. (2014). Using the PTSD Checklist for DSM-IV (PCL). http://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/pages/assessments/assessment-pdf/PCL-handout.pdf.
  45. Weathers, F., Litz, B., Huska, J. A., & Keane, T. (1994). PCL-M for DSM-IV. Boston, MA: National Center for PTSD – Behavioral Science Division.Google Scholar
  46. Weathers, F. W., Huska, J. A., & Keane, T. M. (1991). PCL-C for DSM-IV. Boston, MA: National Center for PTSD – Behavioral Science Division.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ellen R. DeVoe
    • 1
  • Tessa M. Kritikos
    • 1
  • Ben Emmert-Aronson
    • 1
  • Glenda Kaufman Kantor
    • 2
  • Ruth Paris
    • 1
  1. 1.Boston UniversityBostonUSA
  2. 2.University of New Hampshire Family Research LaboratoryDurhamUSA

Personalised recommendations