Military Families’ Experiences: Medical Studies

Introduction

The deployment of the military is a common phenomenon in modern days. This is especially due to the ever-increasing demand for cross border security. This has seen the deployment of military personnel in conflict zones across the world. The deployment of military personnel has impacted their families. Studies have indicated that the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars led to many families experiencing the deployment of one of their members to the conflict zones (McFarlane, 2009). The turn of events has led to the question regarding the experience of military families when their member is deployed. This paper looks at the experiences of military families once one of their members is deployed. The paper focuses on the analysis of the various qualitative and quantitative studies.

Quantitative

Gibbs, D.A., Martin, S.L., Kupper, L.L., & Johnson, R.E. (2007). Child maltreatment in enlisted soldiers’ families during combat-related deployments. Journal of the American Medical Association, 298 (5), 528-535.

This study was conducted to depict the prevalence of child maltreatment incidences among parents serving as soldiers. The focus was on the impact of the deployment of the soldier parents and the child maltreatment incidences. It can be acknowledged that stress among parents contributes to child maltreatment significantly (Gibbs, Martin, Kupper & Johnson, 2007). The main objective of the study was to look for a link between military deployment and incidences of child maltreatment, especially in families with reported cases of child maltreatment (Gibbs, Martin, Kupper & Johnson, 2007).

The study was done on 1771 families that had reported child maltreatment. In this case, it was noted that 1858 parents of the families that were studied subjected their children to maltreatment. Also, there were more incidences of child maltreatment when the parent soldiers were being deployed than when they were not deployed (Gibbs, Martin, Kupper & Johnson, 2007).

This study employed a quantitative design in its analysis. Therefore, the Conditional Poisson regression strategy was employed in the study. This was especially in the estimation of rate ratios. These ratios were critical in comparing the rates of child maltreatment incidences when the soldiers were deployed and when they were not deployed (Gibbs, Martin, Kupper & Johnson, 2007).

Chandra, A., et al. (2010). Children on the homefront: The experience of children from military families. Pediatrics, 125, 16-25.

This study focused on the impact that military deployment has on children. The study narrowed down to social, emotional, and academic aspects of the child whose parents were deployed. Children from military families are the most affected by the careers of their parents. This study made a comparison of the well-being of children during deployment and non-deployment. The participants of the study were 1507. The study population included non deployed caregivers and children from military families between the ages of 11 and 17 (Chandra et al., 2010).

The study concluded that children from military families were subjected to emotional challenges compared to the national samples. Cases of challenges related to parental deployment were reported among girls of all age groups. Also, the period of parental deployment and the mental health of the caregiver was noted to impact the challenges experienced by the children. In this case, those families where the period of parental deployment was significant were likely to lead to substantial challenges among children (Chandra et al., 2010).

This study was quantitative. Therefore, the multivariate regression analysis was used to assess the relationship between the various aspects under study. The “significant covariates included child age, gender, and race/ethnicity; caregiver mental health; and deployment characteristics” (Chandra et al., 2010, p. 18).

Qualitative

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.

The war in Iraq and Afghanistan has led to the emergence of various issues among military families. The children are the most affected, with studies indicating that most of them are stressed following the deployment of a family member in a war zone. This study was systematic research on the challenges children, and their families are forced to undergo when one of the family members has been deployed. In this case, the study provided a review of the findings of other studies (McFarlane, 2009).

In the review of other studies, it was noted that post-traumatic stress disorder was a common problem among war veterans. This has been said to pose adverse impacts on families once a family member returns from the war (McFarlane, 2009). Essentially, this affects intimacy and nurturance aspects in these families. This is exhibited in the various effects of post-traumatic stress disorder, such as withdrawal, distressing, and petulance. Furthermore, other challenges are closely associated with the deployment of a family member. The children and family members are exposed to the challenge of anxiety whenever a soldier parent is deployed. In a study conducted on the Kuwaiti military, it was revealed that the anxiety of the mother whose husband had been deployed affected the development of the child is a great way (McFarlane, 2009).

Another study on the communities that have experienced war indicated that children whose parents were prisoners of war experienced a lot of anxiety, which was not good for their emotional well-being. Also, the parent’s deployment had negative effects on child development. In this case, these children reported depressive symptoms. Additionally, confusion regarding the roles played by the adolescents was reported in families where parents had been deployed (McFarlane, 2009).

This study was adopted a qualitative study design. The study focused on the analysis of literature and studies that have been done on the topic under study. The study brought to the fore numerous aspects associated with deployment and its effects on the families.

Faber, A. J., Willerton, E., Clymer, S. R., MacDermid, S. M., & Weiss, H. M. (2008). Ambiguous absence, ambiguous presence: A qualitative study of military reserve families in wartime. Journal of Family Psychology, 22 (2), 222-230.

The United States is engaged in a protracted war against terrorists. This has led to the deployment of reservists to assist in the war against terrorism. Since reservists and their dependents are not used to deployments, they experience uncertainties regarding the various family roles. The uncertainty experienced is often referred to as boundary ambiguity. In this regard, “family members are uncertain in their perception about who is in or out of the family and who is performing which roles and tasks within the family” (Faber, Willerton, Clymer, MacDermid & Weiss, 2008, p. 222). The main objective of this study was to analyze the impact of deployment among the reservists’ families.

The variation sampling strategy was used in getting the participants for the study. In this case, 16 reservists and 18 family members were involved in the study making the total number of participants in the study stand at 34. The participants were recruited on the reservists deployed during the Iraqi war. The participants were those reservists who had returned from their mission in Iraq. Several interviews were carried out on the participants in stages. There were seven interviews conducted (Faber, Willerton, Clymer, MacDermid & Weiss, 2008).

It was noted that family members of the reservists had experiences of boundary ambiguity. However, these family members attended a family support group, which was effective in helping them get over the boundary ambiguity. Notably, there were aspects of ambiguity that were also experienced by the family members after the reservists returned home. Nonetheless, this ambiguity faded as time passed since the families were able to go back to the normal ways of life as before the deployment. Therefore, there were two categories of boundary ambiguity discovered. This study refers to them as the deployment-ambiguous absence and reunion-ambiguous presence, respectively (Faber, Willerton, Clymer, MacDermid & Weiss, 2008).

This was a qualitative study that sought to establish the impact of the deployment of the reservists on their families. The study employed the use of qualitative tools such as interviews in carrying out the study.

Conclusion

The various studies conducted have indicated that the deployment of military personnel has an impact on their families. This is in regard to their children, spouses, and parents. It has been established that children are predisposed to maltreatment incidences, especially when there is a deployment in the offing. In addition, it has been indicated that deployment comes with a lot of psychological and emotional impact on the families.