Career and Health Outcomes of Military Personnel with Special Needs Children


Name: Jacqueline Rychnovsky

Rank: CAPT

Organization: Naval Health Research Center

Performance Site: Naval Health Research Center, San Diego, CA

Year Published: 2014

Abstract Status:


The proposed project's primary objective is to provide information about the impact of parenting children with special health care needs (CSHCN) on the outcomes of service members and their spouses. 

The project involves two lines of inquiry. The first will be accomplished through statistical analysis of aggregated archival military databases containing medical data (for military personnel and their dependents) and personnel data (for military personnel only). Analyses will assess the impact of parenting CSHCN on: (1) Military career outcomes of active-duty parents (e.g., premature attrition, demotion, career progression, history of deployments); (2) Medical outcomes of both military and civilian parents (e.g., physical and mental health disorders associated with stress, related prescription medications); and (3) Use of health care services by both military and civilian parents. Potential moderators of these associations (e.g., sex of parent, family structure) will be examined. In addition, supplementary analyses will examine whether the impact on parental outcomes of having CSHCN is diminished among parents receiving pediatric case management services. 

The second line of inquiry will consist of a comprehensive inventory of existing pediatric case management services across MTFs. Differences in available case management services will be examined by relevant characteristics, such as MTF size and location. Together, results of these two studies will provide several contributions to nurses and to the parents of CSHCN. Results from this study could be used to reevaluate existing pediatric care standards and practices in light of an improved understanding of how caring for CSHCN impacts military career performance and parental health. Risk and protective factors for adverse parental outcomes will be identified and disseminated to the nursing community. This information will provide guidance in making recommendations to parents of CSHCN when reviewing a child’s new diagnosis or in providing ongoing care. 

Finally, results from this project will be used to formulate recommendations for policy and practice to improve the overall readiness of all military parents, and in particular, to strengthen the overall family functioning, health, and readiness of parents with CSHCN.