Military Children’s Perceptions of Parents’ Frequent Missile Deployments


Name: Deborah Jones

Rank: Lt Col

Organization: The Univesity of Tennessee

Performance Site: Minot Air Force Base, ND

Year Published: 2015

Abstract Status: Final


Purpose:  Military children at Minot AFB, North Dakota face many challenges other military children are not exposed to due to the unique nuclear mission and location in North Dakota.  They have parents that go to a Military Alert Faicility (MAF) to maintain Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) for 24 to 96 hours each week. This qualitative study is designed to bring awareness of challenges these children face year round. The study will allow them to describe their experience in their own words to gain an essence of their life as it is lived in their world.  

Design: This phenomenologic study will involve indepth interviews with eight to ten children who have a parent involved in maintaining ICBMs.  Parents may be part of Security Forces, Facility Managers, Missile Officers, and other support staff members who are located at a MAF to perform their duties.

Sample:  To recruit a sample of eight to ten children, a request for volunteers will be sent out through Squadron Commanders, First Sergeants, and members of the Key Spouses Group.  Inclusion criteria include children ages eight to 12 years of age, have at least one parent who go to a MAF every week, and be available one weekend for an interview.  Procedure. Parents will give permission and children will provide assent to participate in the study. 

Analysis: Face-to-face interviews will be conducted in a quiet, private place naturally acceptable to the children and the researcher.  They will be professionally transcribed with all personally identifying information removed.  The Interpretive Research Group at the University of Tennessee will assist in a process of reduction, analyzing specific statements to identify meaning units and metaphors.  The group offers interpretation of these meanings that are transformed into a description of the child's experience.  Interpretation of the transcripts is linked to the philospohical approach grounded in Merleau-Ponty as this is the philosophical approach used at the University of Tennessee.

This proposed study is relevant to military nursing science because it will bring about awareness of children's experiences with parents out in the field maintaining ICBMs. The results of the study will aid in understanding the needs of children and families giving guidance for programs that support family members in their challenges. This knowledge will help guide development of interventions that can be successfully implemented to help children and inform policy development.


Final Report is available on NTRL: