Online Program

Military parent mental health, parenting stress and child functioning at reintegration: A snapshot guiding intervention development

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 1:10 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Abigail Ross, PhD, MSW, MPH, School of Social Work, Boston University, Boston, MA
Glenda Kantor, PhD, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH
David Prouty, MSW, MPH, Boston University School of Social Work, Boston, MA
Ellen DeVoe, PhD, School of Social Work, Boston University, Boston, MA
Over two million children have experienced at least one parental deployment in the post-September 11th wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Young children (age birth to 5 years) are disproportionately represented in military families. Although research identifying the effects of deployment on children of all ages is beginning to emerge, there has been little empirical investigation of parent mental health, the stresses and demands among parents of young children or interventions to support them. The authors conducted a series of studies funded by the Department of Defense to build and evaluate a home-based, reflective parenting program for returning National Guard/Reserve parents and their very young children. We applied a community-based participatory approach during each phase of the research. In this presentation, we characterize the experiences and functioning of OEF/OIF parents (n=281) from all studies. Specifically, we will characterize relationships between mental health status, including combat stress, anxiety and depression, parenting stress, and couple, family and child functioning. Preliminary findings reveal significant relationships between parent mental health and parenting stress (p<0.001), parenting stress and child behavioral problems (p<0.001), and parent mental health and child behavior problems (p<.05). This is the first study to investigate relationships between mental health and associated constructs in a sample of NG/R parents of young children during reintegration. These findings directly informed the development of a military-specific and developmentally relevant reintegration program for NG/R families with very young children. Implications for public health practice and mental health treatment with military families will be discussed.

Learning Areas:

Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe relationships between military parent mental health, parenting stress and child functioning. Discuss implications for intervention development and program implementation.

Keyword(s): Veterans, Evidence Based Practice

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present this work because I am the Project Director for Strong Families Strong Forces, a four year research study designed to develop and evaluate a home-based program to support military families with young children during the deployment life-cycle, which is the subject of this presentation. I have been working as an emergency psychiatry research assistant for the past 6 years.
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.