Resiliency in Army Reserve Families before Deployment


Name: Jacquelyn Russek


Organization: Case Western Reserve University

Performance Site: Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, OH

Year Published: 2003

Abstract Status: FInal


The Reserve Force (Reserves) comprises half of the United States (US) total military force (US Army Reserve On-line, 2002), with 580 Army reserve units and 12,290 personnel mobilized in support of current operations (US Army Reserve On-line), including Combat Support Hospitals (US Army Reserve On-line). Deployment of a reservist in a medical unit is a reality due to the Total Force Policy that integrated the Reserve Force with the Active Force. Since September 11, 2001, deployment is a matter of "when." Reservists in medical units are at significant risk for psychological distress because they report many stressors even in a non-deployed status. Psychological distress extends beyond the reservist to the family; even if the reservist is not deployed, spouses and children are affected due to the threat of war (Ryan-Wenger, 2002). Since almost 75% of officers and 50% of enlisted members in the Reserves are married, effects of war-related stressors before deployment on the family are far reaching (Department of Defense, 2001). There is limited understanding as to how the stressors faced by non-deployed reservists and their families affect their psychosocial functioning and why some families remain resilient and adaptable to stressful life conditions. Knowledge about successful adaptation under stress strengthens the conceptual base required for designing preventive interventions (McCubbin & McCubbin, 2001). This proposed research directly addresses this important concern and includes variations of Reservist families and caregivers based on race/ethnicity, gender of caregiver, marital status of caregiver, and the relationship of the caregiver to the family. Thus this study will provide rich data on military families. The research questions are: (1) Are there differences in family demands, family resources, family hardiness, family problem solving, family coping, and caregiver well being, caregiver depressive symptoms, and family adaptation among families according to (a) racial/ethnic background, (b) type of designated caregiver, (c) gender of caregiver, and (d) Reservist marital status as reported by designated civilian caregivers for dependent children of Army Reserve health care personnel? (2) What are the relationships between the independent variables of family demands, family resources, family hardiness, family problem solving, and family coping with caregiver well being, caregiver depressive symptoms, and family adaptation? (3) What are the stressors experienced by caregivers and their families before a deployment and how do the families handle the stressors? Data analysis includes t-tests, (M) ANOVA, and multiple regression analysis. Qualitative analysis will be used to analyze data from the open ended question on family stressors. The significance of this proposal is its potential impact on military family resiliency to extreme stress caused by the reality of a deployment.


Final report is available on NTRL: