Children + Deployment

Together we're stronger

While many studies have been conducted on the experiences of the service member during deployment, little research has been done to examine military families of all ranks and services and the effect of deployments on their relationships. In the eight years since 9/11, families have been experiencing an increased Operations Tempo, back-to-back deployments, and longer hours for the non-deployed service member. But how is this affecting the families that experience it? What will the effects be down the road?

Part of speaking up for military families and the unique issues they face is knowing just what those issues are. The National Military Family Association is constantly gathering information from military families worldwide, whether it's anecdotally, through surveys, or by personal experience. When the need for formal research arose, the Association answered the call by hiring the RAND Corporation to conduct a longitudinal study on our behalf. The study, Children on the Homefront: The Experience of Children from Military Families, lets the kids themselves tell us what it means when a parent deploys.

The National Military Family Association commissioned the RAND Corporation to follow military children for 12 months, summer 2008 through summer 2009, surveying them and their parent or caregiver on three occasions to answer two key questions: how are school-age military children faring and what types of issues do military children face related to deployment? The baseline findings released today set the stage for results from the follow-up surveys to be reported in subsequent studies. 

Study results are consistent across Service branches:

  • As the months of parental deployment increased so did the child’s challenges. The total number of months away mattered more than the number of deployments.
  • Older children experienced more difficulties during deployment.
  • There is a direct correlation between the mental health of the caregiver and the well-being of the child.
  • Girls experienced more difficulty during reintegration, the period of months readjusting after the service member’s homecoming.
  • About one-third of the children reported symptoms of anxiety, which is somewhat higher than the percentage reported in other studies of children.

Read more about the study, click here to read the key findings or access the complete article.


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