USC University of Southern California

Building Capacity and Welcoming Practices In Military-Connected Schools

Reference Articles


Research on the impact of deployment on military children is a growing field of inquiry. Military children encounter stress and subsequent behavioral and psychological issues during deployment. Repeated deployments are also an issue as military children now must adapt to parental separation.

Selected Reference:

Angrist, J., & Johnson, J. (2000). Effects of work-related absences on families: Evidence from the Gulf War. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 54(1), 41-58.

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Family Issues

Military children experience family issues specific to military culture. The following references discuss a variety of family issues including shifting household roles and responsibilities, the stress of left-behind parents, and community supports.

Selected References:

Walsh, T., Dayton, C., Erwin, M., Muzik, M., Busuito, A. & Rosenblum, K. (2014) Fathering after Military Deployment: Parenting Challenges and Goals of Fathers of Young Children. Health and Social Work

Greentree V., Bradbard D., Dagher L., Levingston K., Lore C., Taylor J. (2013) Military Family Lifestyle SurveyComprehensive Report

Barker, L. H., & Berry, K. D. (2009). Developmental issues impacting military families with young children during single and multiple deployments. Military Medicine, 174(10), 1033-1040.

Faber, A. J., Willerton, E., Clymer, S. R., MacDermid, S. M., & Weiss, H. M. (2006). Ambiguous absence, ambiguous presence: A qualitative study of military reserve families in wartime. Journal of Family Psychology, 22(2), 222-230.

Jensen, P. S., Xenakis, S. N., Wolf, P., & Bain, M. W. (1991). The "Military Family Syndrome" Revisited: "By the Numbers". The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 179(2), 102-107.

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Family Violence

Research on family violence in military families is growing. However, it is still inconclusive whether violence rates are higher in military families when compared to civilian families. The following references cover a range of family violence issues such as domestic violence, child neglect and child maltreatment.

Selected References:

Martin, S., Gibbs, D., Johnson, R., Rentz, D., Clinton-Sherrod, M., & Hardison, J. (2007). Spouse abuse and child abuse by Army soldiers. Journal of Family Violence, 22(7), 587-595.

Rentz, E. D., Marshall, S. W., Loomis, D., Casteel, C., Martin, S. L., & Gibbs, D. A. (2007). Effect of deployment on the occurrence of child maltreatment in military and nonmilitary families. American Journal of Epidemiology, 165(10), 1199-1206.

Schaeffer, C., Alexander, P., Bethke, K., & Kretz, L. Predictors of child abuse potential among military parents: Comparing mother and fathers. Journal of Family Violence, 20(2), 123-129.

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Mental Health Issues

While some military children are resilient during deployment, reintegration, and relocation periods, many military children have poor mental health outcomes. The following references discuss the prevalence of mental health problems among military children.

Selected References:

Garrick J. (2013) Suicide and Military Families: A Report on the Feasibility of Tracking Deaths by Suicide among Military Family Members

Wickman, M., Greenberg, C., & Boren, D. (2009). The relationship of perception of invincibility, demographics, and risk behaviors in adolescents of military parents. Journal of Pediatric Health Care, 24(1), 25-33.

Jensen, P. S., Watanabe, H. K., Richters, J. E., Cortes, R., Roper, M., & Liu, S. (1995). Prevalence of Mental Disorder in Military Children and Adolescents: Findings from a Two-Stage Community Survey. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 34(11), 1514-1524.

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Reunion and Reintegration

The reunion and reintegration period is both a joyous and stressful experience for returning soldiers and their families. Military children often encounter a returning parent who must deal with reintegrating into society (e.g. establishing employment) and trauma-related issues. The following references examine the experiences of military families and children during this complex time.

Selected References:

Doyle, M., & Peterson, K. (2005). Re-entry and reintegration: Returning home after combat. Psychiatric Quarterly, 76(4), 361-370.

McCubin, H., Dahl, B., Lester, G., & Ross, B. (1975). The returned prisoner of war: Factors in family reintegration. Journal of Marriage and Family, 37(3), 171-178.

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Schooling Experiences

The schooling experiences of military children are an emerging area of research. The following references discuss the academic and social outcomes of military children in schools.

Selected References:

Brendel, K., Maynard, B., Albright, D., & Bellomo, M. (2013) Effects of School-Based Interventions With U.S. Military-Connected Children: A Systematic Review. Research on Social Work Practice

Chandra, A., Martin, L., Hawkins, S. A., & Richardson, A. (2010). The impact of parental deployment on child social and emotional functioning: Perspectives of school staff. Journal of Adolescent Health, 46, 218-223.

Engel, R. C., Gallagher, L. B., & Lyle, D. S. (2008). Military deployments and children's academic achievenment: Evidence from department of defense education activity schools. Economics of Education Review, 29(1), 73-82.

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Military children experience several transitions as a result of geographic relocation and parental deployment. The following references address how military children adjust to transitions and the family and community supports that are needed to facilitate healthy adjustment.

Selected References:

Morris, A. S., & Age, T. R. (2009). Adjustment among youth in military families: The protective roles of effortful control and maternal social support. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 30(6), 695-707.

Lincoln, A., Swift, E., & Shorteno-Fraser, M. (2008). Psychological adjustment and treatment of children and families with parents deployed in military combat. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 64(8), 984-992.

Bowen, G., Mancini, J., Martin, J., Ware, W., & Nelson, J. (2003). Promoting the adaptation of military families: An empirical test of a community practice model. Family Relations, 52(1), 33-44.

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Trauma-related Issues

Returning soldiers often experience a variety of trauma-related issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder. This trauma often affects military children psychologically. Researchers have written about secondary traumatization, a process where military children develop similar symptoms of their veteran parents with war related trauma illnesses.

Selected References:

Dekel, R., & Goldblatt, H. Is there intergenerational transmission of trauma? The case of combat veterans' children. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 78(3), 281-289.

Galovski, T., & Lyons, J. (2004). Psychological sequelae of combat violence: A review of the impact of PTSD on the veteran's family and possible interventions. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 9, 477-501.

Ryan-Wenger, N. A. (2002). Impact of the threat of war on children in military families. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 71(2), 236-244.

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