242650 Military Family Mental Health: Implications for Preventive Interventions

Monday, October 31, 2011: 9:30 AM

Abigail Ross, MSW, MPH , School of Social Work, Boston University, Boston, MA
David Prouty, MSW , Schools of Social Work/Public Health, Boston University, Boston, MA
Ellen DeVoe, PhD , School of Social Work, Boston University, Boston, MA
Approximately 2 million children have been affected by parental deployment to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (OEF/OIF), 40% of them younger than five years old (DOD, 2008). While military families have shown remarkable resilience throughout these conflicts (Elder & Clipp, 2006), very young children are particularly vulnerable to deployment separation given the developmental processes occurring during these years (Cozza & Lieberman, 2007). Little research and evidence-based programming are available for these families at this time. This paper reports on the first phase of a 4-year study funded by the Department of Defense to develop and test a home-based intervention designed to mitigate the impact of deployment experiences on military families with young children. During the first phase of this study, standardized measures assessing PTSD, parenting stress, and psychological distress were administered to OEF/OIF service-member parents (N= 39) and spouses (N= 31) of very young children. 14% of service members met criteria for PTSD, 22% reported clinically significant parenting stress, and 54% were struggling with depression or anxiety. Spouses were functioning better than service members with only one meeting criteria for PTSD, 12% struggling with clinically significant parenting stress, and 48% exhibiting depression or anxiety. Of 17 service member-spouse matched pairs, concordance levels between spouse and service member reports of service member mental health were low on BSI subscales of anxiety, hostility and phobic anxiety. Implications for culturally responsive preventive interventions for military families will be discussed.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Other professions or practice related to public health
Program planning
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe mental health functioning in a sample of military parents.

Keywords: Mental Health, Veterans

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Project Director of Strong Families Strong Forces
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.