Testing a Military Family Stress Model

Abigail H. Gewirtz*, David S. DeGarmo, Osnat Zamir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

The current study examines a military family stress model, evaluating associations between deployment-related stressors (i.e., deployment length/number, posttraumatic stress disorder [PTSD] symptoms) and parent, child, parenting, and dyadic adjustment among families in which a parent had previously deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan in the recent conflicts. Married families (N = 293) with at least one child between the ages of 4 and 12 were recruited from a Midwestern state. Service members were from the Reserve Component (National Guard or Reserves); fathers (N = 253) and/or mothers had deployed (N = 45) to the recent conflicts in the Middle East. Multiple-method (observations of parenting and couple interactions; questionnaires) and multiple informant measures were gathered online and in the homes of participants, from parents, children, and teachers. Findings demonstrated associations between mothers’ and fathers’ PTSD symptoms and a latent variable of child adjustment comprising teacher, parent, and child report. Mothers’ but not fathers’ PTSD symptoms were also associated with dyadic adjustment and parenting practices; parenting practices were in turn associated with child adjustment. The results are discussed in terms of their implications for military family stress research and interventions to support and strengthen parents and families after deployment.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)415-431
Number of pages17
JournalFamily Process
Volume57
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Family Process Institute.

Keywords

  • Children
  • Couples
  • Families
  • Family Stress Model
  • Military

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