Coping Interventions for Children of Deployed Parents


Name: Mary White


Organization: The Geneva Foundation

Performance Site: Naval Medical Center, San Diego, CA

Year Published: 2004

Abstract Status: Final


In the United States Armed Forces, there are more than 1.3 million men and women serving on active duty. More than half (53%) of these military personnel are married and almost half (45%) have children. Consequently, many children are affected by parental separation due to a military deployment. Measures to improve family readiness for deployment is just as an important concept as individual and unit readiness. Family readiness is the ability to positively adapt to and or effectively deal with the stresses associated with military duties and a military lifestyle. As school age children comprise the largest proportion of the military family, separation from a loved one due to a military deployment has been noted to be especially disruptive to this age group. Preventive measures designed for this population that will strengthen family systems and assist these children in coping with the stress associated with parental separation is an effective way to decrease their worries and concerns, and avoid detrimental effects of separation. The purpose of this study, employing an experimental design, is to assess the effectiveness of an intervention (My Deployment Activity Booklet) designed to decrease stress in children of deployed parents. To assess our intervention in school aged children, we will randomly select two ships scheduled for their routine six months deployment from the 32nd Street Naval Station, San Diego, CA. The Children's Stress Symptom Scale will be used to measure perceived stress, the Children's Coping Strategies Scale will be use to measure coping strategies, and the Child Behavior Check List will be use to measure problem behaviors in school-aged children. If effective, this intervention can be implemented throughout military Commands as a standard tool to assist family members in coping with family separation due to a deployment. Health care providers also could use this intervention as a means for offering anticipatory guidance for the school-aged children coping with the stress of parental separation and other stress related disorders, and identify those who experience difficulty coping. Data will be collected at baseline, at deployment, and at three, six, and nine months intervals. Data will be analyzed using ANOVA with repeated measures and regression statistics.


Final report is available on NTRL: