The experience of military separation/deployment for young children and families

The experience of military separation/deployment for young children and families


Name: Janice Agazio

Rank: LTC (Ret)

Presenter/Poster: Poster

Year: 2017


Background : To date, few studies have considered the effects of parental separation upon younger children who are part of a military family. Most military separation research has been with older school aged and adolescents.

Objectives: Using a mixed method comparative descriptive design with embedded quantitative measures, the purpose of this study is to describe the experience of military duty-related separations/deployment for sixty children ages 4-10 years of age compared to parental perceptions. The research questions to be answered in this study will be: How do children aged 4-10 years of age describe the experience of military separations/deployment? What are parental perceptions of how their children experienced parental absence for military duty/deployment? What are useful strategies parents have found helpful in managing separations/deployments for their children?

Study Methods:. Both parents will complete demographic forms, FACES IV, and a parental stress scale followed by an interview in separate sessions that will last between 30-60 min to ask them to describe the child’s reaction to preparing for, and their reactions during, and after the separation. Children ages 4-10 years of age will be asked to participate in a draw-and-tell conversation and photo elicitation interview to explore their explanations and perceptions of the deployment/assignment separation. Findings from across the three interview sources will be compared between parental and child participants for major themes and pattern similarities and differences.

Study findings: Data collection is underway currently so no findings to report at this time

Implications for military nursing: This study will be unique in combining an art-based interview to explore the separation/deployment experience from the young child’s point of view with integration of both parents’ perceptions of the child’s reaction to the separation. Being able to compare and contrast the different perspectives will provide new insights as to the strategies military families use to maintain stability during deployment and how children perceive the experience of a parental deployment from their perspective. Findings will be useful in providing anticipatory guidance and intervention strategies other families have found helpful during the experience.