As the United States continues deployments of service members to support operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is increasingly important to understand the effects of this military involvement, not only on service members but also on the health and well-being of their children and spouses. The purpose of this report is to examine the functioning of a sample of youth in military families who applied to a free camp for children of military personnel and to specifically assess how these youth are coping with parental deployment. The report addresses the general well-being of military youth during and after parental deployment, with attention to their emotional, social, and academic functioning. It also examines the challenges that their nondeployed caregivers face. The study includes quantitative and qualitative components: three waves of phone surveys with youth and nondeployed caregivers, and in-depth interviews with a subsample of caregivers. The researchers found that children and caregivers who had applied to attend the camp confronted challenges to their emotional well-being and functioning. Four factors in particular (1) poorer caregiver emotional well-being, (2) more cumulative months of deployment, (3) National Guard or Reserve status, and (4) poor quality of family communication were strongly associated with greater youth or caregiver difficulties.
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