Deployed Families and Their Health Care Needs


Name: Margaret McNulty


Organization: Henry Jackson Foundation

Performance Site: Naval Hospital, Okinawa, Japan

Year Published: 2000

Abstract Status: Final


Family separations are inherent in the military system. The impact of parental loss through military deployment is seen by health care providers who remain with the beneficiary family. There is unique stress upon the remaining spouse and children who have situational parent loss, but when the deployment occurs in an overseas location, that stress is raised even higher. The effect of isolation and separation can be greatly impacted with poor coping skills and poor social support. The family's inability to cope successfully with the separation is recognized as a significant problem by both the families and the military organization. The care and support of those families are an important asset to the morale and operational taskings of the deployed member. It is essential that health care providers be made fully aware of family deployment issues and be prepared to care for the beneficiaries during these frequent times of separation. The purpose of this study is to compare utilization of the military health care system by families in a deployed status compared with families in a non-deployed status. Families will be identified when they enter for health care services at Naval Hospital Okinawa. They will be asked to participate in a study and be given several tools which identify family functioning and adaptation. The anxiety of the remaining caretaker and child over eight years (when applicable) will be obtained. A demographic tool will be used to identify military and hospital/clinic demographics. Tools will be coded for identification. Each non-deployed caretaker will be asked to submit the instuments then and again in three months. Deployed family caretakers will be asked to complete the tools one month prior to deployment and during the last month of deployment three months later. The purpose of the study is to describe the relationship between stress, family structure, resiliency, coherence and adaptation with family well being in deployed and non-deployed families in Okinawa, Japan. Multiple analysis of variance will determine differences between groups in regard to anxiety, coping, adjustment and health care needs. Information specific to the needs of families in this isolated overseas environment will benefit all beneficiaries and health care providers who provide care to deployed families in remote locations.


Final report is available on NTRL: