233677 Family reintegration following Guard deployment

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 9:30 AM - 9:50 AM

Deborah C. Messecar, PhD MPH , Oregon Master of Public Health, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR
The military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have required more frequent and much longer deployment rotations among National Guard units than any previous US conflict. Repeated, lengthy deployments put Guard members at risk for problems with family reintegration, which in turn can create a sense of failed belongingness and of being a burden to one's family (Brenner, et al., 2008). This poster/presentation presents findings from a Department of Defense funded project to describe veterans and families perception's of their experience with family reintegration and the challenges reintegration presents among Guard members deployed since the start of the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts. Researchers conducted in depth focus group, couple, and individual interviews with a total of 45 participants (26 Guard members, and 19 family members) to assess needs and maximize input from military families regarding deployment-related experiences and reintegration issues. Qualitative coding and analysis of data has just been completed. There are several skills that members develop while deployed, that then interfere with their ability to resume family life when they return home. These skills included: seeking safety, getting things done in a hurry, expecting unilateral decision making, ensuring predictability in the environment, and stuffing emotions in order to get the job done. Conclusions are that individual returning from deployment are often still experiencing the stressful effects of deployment and this can interfere with family life and put the member at risk for serious alienation and a sense of not fitting back in to the family. Suggestions for strategies to screen for these kinds of problems will be provided. Implications for the development of preventive interventions that support Guard member populations throughout the deployment cycle will be discussed.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
List the Veteran Guard member military deployment survival skills that make return to family life difficult Describe screening for family reintegration problems.

Keywords: Veterans, Primary Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Principal Investigator for the Department of Defense study that is reported on in this poster.
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.