Children on the homefront: The effects of deployment on military children

Jennifer Miller

Abstract


Every year, thousands of military personnel get deployed overseas. Over the past few decades, more awareness has been made on the psychological effects that deployment has on these individuals. However, little research has been done on the effects that this separation has on the children that they are leaving behind. Deployment does not just affect the service member; it affects the family as well. This study seeks to gain an idea of how deployment affects the children of military personnel that have been deployed at least once during the course of the children’s lifetimes. To do this, a questionnaire was designed for both the children and their non-deployed caregiver. This questionnaire was used to assess the child’s feelings, his or her coping mechanisms, his or her reactions to the deployment, changes in mood or behavior during the deployment, and much more. The child was then asked to describe this period of his or her life. Through these interviews, several common themes were noted and it can be seen that deployment has an overall negative effect on these children. Older children, who have a better understanding of the situation, seem to handle the deployment much better than younger ones. However, all of the children described this period as one of the worst part of their lives and look back on it with sullen feelings. This study provides a baseline for further research on how deployment affects children and how we can better aid them through this time in their lives.


Keywords


Military, Deployment, Children

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