Associations of contextual risk and protective factors with fathers' parenting practices in the postdeployment environment

Laurel Davis, Sheila K. Hanson, Osnat Zamir, Abigail H. Gewirtz*, David S. DeGarmo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Deployment separation and reunifications are salient contexts that directly impact effective family functioning and parenting for military fathers. Yet, we know very little about determinants of postdeployed father involvement and effective parenting. The present study examined hypothesized risk and protective factors of observed parenting for 282 postdeployed fathers who served in the National Guard/Reserves. Preintervention data were employed from fathers participating in the After Deployment, Adaptive Parenting Tools randomized control trial. Parenting practices were obtained from direct observation of father- child interaction and included measures of problem solving, harsh discipline, positive involvement, encouragement, and monitoring. Risk factors included combat exposure, negative life events, months deployed, and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms. Protective factors included education, income, dyadic adjustment, and social support. Results of a structural equation model assessing risk and protective factors for an effective parenting construct indicated that months deployed, income, and father age were most related to observed parenting, explaining 16% of the variance. We are aware of no other study using direct parent- child observations of fathers' parenting skills following overseas deployment. Implications for practice and preventive intervention are discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)250-260
Number of pages11
JournalPsychological Services
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 American Psychological Association.


  • Deployment
  • Fathers
  • Parenting practices
  • Protective factors
  • Risk factors


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