142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

A Qualitative Study of Social Support Needs of Military Parents of Very Young Children: A First Step in Facilitating Access

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Monday, November 17, 2014 : 9:10 AM - 9:30 AM

Abigail Ross, MSW, MPH , School of Social Work, Boston University, Boston, MA
Celeste Hamre , School of Social Work, Boston University, Boston, MA
Christy VanAernam , School of Social Work, Boston University, Boston, MA
Samantha Schneider, MSW , School of Social Work, Simmons College School of Social Work, Boston, MA
Ellen DeVoe, PhD , School of Social Work, Boston University, Boston, MA
Introduction.  Since October 2001, over 2 million U.S. troops, approximately 42% of whom are parents have been deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq (Committee on Needs of Military Personnel, 2011).  Children ages birth to 5 comprise the largest demographic group of military-connected children (42%) and may be at elevated risk for child maltreatment (Rentz et al., 2007).  At-home parents of very young children are an understudied yet critical population with respect to family functioning and child well-being.  Although parental social support has been shown to reduce risk of child maltreatment in civilian populations, little is known about the utility, availability, and types of social supports for at-home military parents during the deployment lifecycle.  This paper presents qualitative findings from the needs assessment phase of a larger intervention development study funded by the Department of Defense. 

Methods: In-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with 30 OEF/OIF female National Guard/Reserve (NG/R) at-home parents who have a child under the age of five.   Interviews will be analyzed using the six phases of thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006) using conceptualizations of social support as sensitizing concepts.  All data will be coded using the qualitative data analysis program Atlas.ti. 

Results: Salient themes related to accessibility, deployment-cycle phase, and type of social supports (e.g. formal, informal) will be presented. 

Conclusion: Community-dwelling NG/R at-home parents rely heavily on informal supports during deployment and reintegration due to their geographic dispersal and distance from formal installation-based supports.  Implications for service delivery and phase-specific preventive intervention will be discussed.

Learning Areas:

Other professions or practice related to public health
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe deployment phase-specific needs of military parents Identify risk factors specific characteristic of National Guard/Reserve families Discuss implications for preventive intervention with military families who have very young children

Keyword(s): Stress, Child Health Promotion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am working as a research assistant on this study.
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.