204582 Helping military families and children with deployment and reintegration challenges: Findings from the NMFA/Rand pilot study

Monday, November 9, 2009: 12:30 PM

Patricia Barron, BSN, MS , National Military Family Association, Alexandria, VA
With the “Global War on Terror” approaching its 8th year, tens of thousands of military service members and their families are experiencing multiple and extended deployments. Little research has been done on the effects of long and repeated separations from loved ones due to deployment in active combat zones. Much less research has examined the effects on children. To help remedy this, the National Military Family Association (NMFA) partnered with the RAND Corporation to gain a better understanding of the impact of deployment on children and families during war time. The pilot study “Understanding the Impact of Deployment on Children and Families” included a sample of 192 Active Duty and Reserve Component children and caregivers. While exploratory in nature, the research highlighted key areas for further investigation, including how family relationships are affected by deployment and reintegration, and the differences in child and caregiver experiences based on Service component. Phase II of the NMFA-RAND study, a longitudinal survey with 1,507 families, has begun which further examines the impact of deployment on children. Pilot study findings, an update on Phase II, and issues requiring further research will be presented. A summary of programs available to help children deal with deployment and reintegration issues and an overview of the NMFA Operation Purple® (OP) program will also be included, highlighting findings from OP camps and Family Retreats.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe findings from preliminary studies on the multiple effects of deployment on children and their caregivers 2. List resources and programs offered for children of deployed service members across the US 3. Explain the purpose and outcomes of the Operation Purple program for children and families of deployed service members

Keywords: Adult and Child Mental Health, Special Populations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Director of the Youth Initiatives Department of the NMFA overseeing the project to be presented and have worked in this field for several decades
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.