228602 Supporting military families with young children: Results from a needs assessment and pilot phase of a home-based prevention program for National Guard/Reserve families

Monday, November 8, 2010 : 9:15 AM - 9:30 AM

David Prouty, MSW , Schools of Social Work/Public Health, Boston University, Boston, MA
Abigail Ross, MSW , Schools of Social Work/Public Health, Boston University, Boston, MA
Samanda Bryant, MSW , School of Social Work, Boston University School of Social Work, Boston, MA
Ellen Maynard, BA , School of Social Work, Boston University, Boston, MA
Ellen DeVoe, PhD , School of Social Work, Boston University, Boston, MA
Current war operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have required more frequent and less predictable deployment rotations, along with greater reliance on National Guard/Reserve units (NGR), than any previous US conflict. Repeated, lengthy deployments result in increased child attachment disturbances, as well as depression, anxiety, and increased behavior problems in young children (Cozza & Lieberman, 2007; Barker & Berry, 2009). This paper presents findings from the first phases of a Department of Defense funded project to provide home-based services to NGR families with very young children. As part of intervention planning, researchers conducted ninety in-depth interviews with service members, spouses and key informants to assess needs and maximize input from military families with young children regarding deployment-related experiences and reintegration issues. Qualitative coding and analysis of data reveal four primary themes: 1) service member and spouse mental health issues such as PTSD and depression; 2) parental perceptions of war-related experiences and their impact on parenting; 3) recognition and response of parents to children's deployment separation reactions, and 4) veteran/parent reintegration issues. These qualitative findings subsequently informed the development of a 10-module home-based intervention piloted with ten families. While pilot data are still under analysis, preliminary findings have helped establish feasibility of the measures, relevance of home-based delivery of services, and ecological validity of family-specific treatment for a wide range of families. Implications for the development of preventive interventions that support NGR populations throughout the deployment cycle will be discussed.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify the needs of very young children in military families. Describe the principles underpinning an innovative home-based preventive intervention program for very young children in military families. Identify mental health and child behavior status among military families with young children Identify public health implications for best practices with National Guard/Reserve families with young children.

Keywords: Veterans, War

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a research assistant for Strong Families Strong Forces, the program that developed the intervention.
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.