Deployment of army officers to resolve cross boarder conflicts has unique psychological impacts on military family members. Scholars in the field of psychology have performed various researches to investigate aspects of military deployment on the family members of the deployed officers. These studies have provided insights on the effects of military deployment that may form the basis for designing psychological interventions for the affected family members.
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Gibbs, Martin, Kupper, and Johnson (2007) examined the relationship between military deployment that involved combat and prevalence of child maltreatment in relations of US military who had one or more incidences of child maltreatment. This study revealed 42 percent increase of child maltreatment during deployment than in incidence when there was no deployment. This study focused on the families of soldiers enlisted for military deployment with a minimum of one incident of child maltreatment. Concurrently, the frequency of child neglect was higher during military deployment, whereas the frequencies of physical assault were down. The frequencies of extreme or moderate child maltreatment were greater than 60 percent during military deployments than when there was no military deployment. In addition, Gibbs et al. (2007) showed that the increase in rate of child maltreatment attributed to female spouses was almost four times higher during deployment periods than when there was no deployment.
The results of the study by Gibbs et al. (2007) match the results of Rentz et al. (2006 cited in Gibbs et al. 2007). These results indicated that population-level frequency of child maltreatment in military families in one state increased twofold in an event of massive military deployment with the utmost increase in child maltreatment done by civilian members of the families concerned. Similarly, these findings match the trends McCarroll et al. ( 2004 cited in Gibbs et al., 2007) identified, which indicated that the frequencies of child neglect in military families in the US increased steeply in 2001 through 2004, overturning a decade-long downward shift.
The study by Gibbs and colleagues did not explain rationales behind the behaviors of civilian members of military families. Their study runs short of providing useful insights to help prevent such behaviors against children. Thus, scholars in the field of psychology should design researches to investigate why civilian members behave in this distinct pattern towards child members of military families after enlistment of a family member for deployment.
In 2008, Faber, Willerton, Clymer, MacDermid, and Weiss set to investigate consequences of war on terrorism that culminated in increased deployment of reservists to avert terrorist schemes against western civilians across the globe. This situation may cause families to experience boundary ambiguity as family members may develop uncertain views of members who are in or out of family. In addition, this uncertainty may arise regarding role distribution amongst family members. Faber et al. (2008) argued that this shift in expression of role cognition of those involved arise because of lack of familiarity with the process and implications of deployment for the affected people. This study showed that different people who have unique positions in the relations experienced extreme degrees of boundary ambiguity following return of deployed reservist. Nonetheless, the researchers observed that this effect of deployment abated with time, because families inclined to recover stability with the resumption of the reservist to work and routine.
This study does not portray full characteristic of military families and their pattern of adjustment to military deployment of their family member. Particularly, this study fails to assess the effects of the family contexts on their adjustment to military deployment as delineated by Wiens and Boss (2006 cited in Faber et al., 2008).
In 2009, McFarlane reviewed different publications on the effects of military deployment on children and adjustment of the civilian members of the family and the care concerns of the members. This review sought to highlight the need for systematic researches to uncover the factors that drive these trends.
This review attributes most of the problem consequent to deployment to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) of war veterans. The review attributes the adverse experiences in the military families to irritability, withdrawal and numbing characteristic of PTSD. Although various publications explained intervention programs for this problem, lack of adequate evaluation of these programs hinder progress in solving the problems associated with military deployment.
Chandra et al. (2010) explained the wellbeing and health of children in military families. These researchers described these problems from the viewpoint of the child and civilian parent. In addition, the authors assessed the deployment experiences of children and differences in the experiences based on duration of deployment and component of military service.
The study by Chandra et al. (2010) emphasizes the need for further research on the emotional health of the civilian caregivers and the stressors affecting them that lead to adverse consequences on children of military families. In addition, this study highlights the need for further research on how the mental health status of military parents on family and children is necessary.
A recent study by Jo Larson et al. (2012) investigated the role of deployment of military active duty members (sponsors) in the army in the trends of use of health care products or services. The results of the study attribute emotional or behavioral concerns for increased visits to specialist and dependence on medication during deployments of sponsors. A change to receipt of services from the civilian context triggers concerns on synchronization of care after families relocate, preferences of family, and capacity of military provider during deployment stages.
Chandra, A., Lara-Cinisomo, S., Jaycox, L. H., Tanielian, T., Burns, R. M., Ruder, T., et al. (2010). Children on the Homefront: The Experience of Children From Military Families. Pediatrics , 25 (1), 16-25.
Faber, A. J., Willerton, E., Clymer, S. R., MacDermid, S. M., & Weiss, H. M. (2008). Ambiguos Absence, Ambiguous Presence: A Qualitative Study of Military Reserve Families in Wartime. Journal of Family Psychology , 22 (2), 222-230.
Gibbs, D. A., Martin, S. L., Kupper, L. L., & Johnson, R. E. (2007). Child Maltreatment in Enlisted Soldiers’ Families During Combat-Related Deployments Free. JAMA , 298 (5), 528-535.
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Jo Larson, M., Mohr, B. A., Adams, R. S., Ritter, G., Perloff, J., Williams, T. V., et al. (2012). Association of Military Deployment of a Parent or Spouse and Changes in Dependent Use of Health Care Services. Medical Care , 50 (9), 821-828.
McFarlane, A. C. (2009). Military Deployment: The Impact on Children and Family Adjustment and the Need for Care. Current Opinion in Psychiatry , 22, 369-373.