Children and young people in Defence force families

The latest material added to the Australian Institute of Family Studies library database is displayed, up to a maximum of 30 items. Where available online, a link to the document is provided. Many items can be borrowed from the Institute's library via the Interlibrary loan system.

See more resources on Children and young people in Defence force families in the AIFS library catalogue

Strengthening the military family readiness system for a changing American society

Kizer K and Le Menestrel S
Washington, DC : National Academies Press, 2019.
"The U.S. military has been continuously engaged in foreign conflicts for over two decades. The strains that these deployments, the associated increases in operational tempo, and the general challenges of military life affect not only service members but also the people who depend on them and who support them as they support the nation ? their families. Family members provide support to service members while they serve or when they have difficulties; family problems can interfere with the ability of service members to deploy or remain in theater; and family members are central influences on whether members continue to serve. In addition, rising family diversity and complexity will likely increase the difficulty of creating military policies, programs and practices that adequately support families in the performance of military duties. [This report] examines the challenges and opportunities facing military families and what is known about effective strategies for supporting and protecting military children and families, as well as lessons to be learned from these experiences. This report offers recommendations regarding what is needed to strengthen the support system for military families."--Publisher's description.

Early support for military-connected families: evaluation of services at NSPCC military sites

McConnell N
London : NSPCC, 2019.
This report evaluates three 'early help' services aimed at military families in England. The services are a drop-in program for parents and children under five years, school lunch clubs, and a group intervention for children with anxiety and emotional problems, which together aim to build five protective factors: parental resilience, social connections, knowledge of parenting and child development, support in times of need, and the social and emotional competence of children. The services are located near two army garrisons and are operated by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. The evaluation aimed to identify the extent to which the services are meeting desired outcomes that improve safeguarding and early help for military-connected families, and involved surveys, focus groups, and administrative data.

Kin and country: growing up as an armed forces child

Great Britain. Office of the Children's Commissioner
London : Children's Commissioner for England, 2018.
This report presents findings from a survey of 40 children and young people in England on life in a military family. Participants discussed: relocation, and the impact of frequently moving home and school on their their friendships, family relationships and school work; deployment, and how the coped with parent absence; and support, including the interventions they found most helpful and what additional support they thought would help. Teachers, parents and members of the Armed Forces were also consulted. The report concludes with recommendations for the Ministry of Defence and the school system.

The intergenerational consequences of war : anxiety, depression, suicidality, and mental health among the children of war veterans.

Forrest W, Edwards B and Daraganova G
International Journal of Epidemiology v. 47 no. 4 Aug 2018: 1060-1067
This article investigates the long term impact into adulthood of having a father go to war, with a study on the mental health of the adult children of Australian Vietnam War veterans. 1,966 adult children, with an average age of 37, were asked about their mental health, anxiety, depression, suicidality, and self harm. Compared to the children of non-deployed veterans, this study found the children of deployed veterans had poorer lifetime and current mental health.

Family Wellbeing Study: summary report

Smart D, Muir S and Daraganova G
Canberra : Dept. of Veterans Affairs, 2018.
This report summarises findings from the Family Wellbeing Study, which investigated how families of Australian Defence Force (ADF) members are faring. The study is one of three projects in the Transition and Wellbeing Research Programme, the most comprehensive study undertaken in Australia on the impact of military service on the mental, physical and social health of serving and ex-serving Australian Defence Force (ADF) members and their families. The study featured two components, a quantitative study on the health and wellbeing of families of current and ex-serving ADF members, and a qualitative study on how these families manage the transition to civilian life. This summary report explains how the study fits within the broader Transition and Wellbeing Research Programme and presents findings on how the families are faring and their needs during service and in the early phases of transition.

Enhancing family stability during a permanent change of station: a review of disruptions and policies

Tong P
Santa Monica, CA : RAND Corporation, 2018.
One key aspect of military life is frequent relocation, also known as permanent change of station (PCS) moves, and one third of American military service members experience a PCS move every year. This report looks at the impact of moves on family stability, retention intentions, and spousal employment, drawing on interviews and a review of the literature. The report also reviews breadth the programs, policies, and services offered by the US Department of Defence to address disruptions, assessing whether all issues - including household management, spouse employment, service member, family and child psychosocial outcomes, child school involvement and engagement, child care, and military family life - are sufficiently addressed. Though the report finds sufficient coverage by current programs, further studies on effectiveness are required, and families would benefit from a longer lead time before moves - recommendations are presented in regards to this.

Family Wellbeing Study

Daraganova G, Smart D, Romaniuk H and Muir S
Canberra : Dept. of Veterans Affairs, 2018.
The Transition and Wellbeing Research Programme is the most comprehensive study undertaken in Australia on the impact of military service on the mental, physical and social health of serving and ex-serving Australian Defence Force (ADF) members and their families. Study 10 of the programme looks at how families are faring at two of the major stages of a military career: during service, and in the first years after the transition to civilian life. This report presents the findings of the two parts of the study: part 1, the quantitative study 'Families of current and ex-serving ADF members: health and wellbeing', and part 2, the qualitative study 'Military family approaches to managing transition to civilian life'. A total of 1,387 family members took part in Part 1, including 983 partners, 275 parents, and 102 adult children. It investigated the overall health and wellbeing of military families, their mental health and physical health, couple relationships, family financial wellbeing, the effect of military service on families, the impact of relocation, whether families of current serving and ex-serving ADF members experience similar problems, help-seeking, and how ADF members' service characteristics and personal functioning affect the health and wellbeing of their families. Part 2 drew on interviews with 25 adult family members, and explored how families manage the transition to civilian life and the lessons for other families and services. It discusses the impact on families, the strategies and approaches used, the practical and emotional support provided by family members, key external supports needed, issues in accessing available supports, and what constitutes a 'successful' transition to member families.

Australia's health 2018: the sixteenth biennial health report of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Canberra, ACT : Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2018.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare provides a biennial report to Parliament on the health of the Australian population and the state of the health system. This 2018 report combines analytical feature articles on topical health issues with short statistical snapshots in the following areas: Australia's health system; Causes of ill health; Determinants of health; Health of population groups; Indigenous health; and Prevention, treatment and health services.

The mental health of sons and daughters of Australian Vietnam veterans.

O'Toole B, Dadds M, Outram S and Catts S
International Journal of Epidemiology v. 47 no. 4 Aug 2018: 1051-1059
Research has found that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in combat veterans increases the risk of PTSD in their children, but are these children at significantly higher risk than the general population, and are they at risk of having other mental health problems? This article investigates the mental health of adult children of Australian Vietnam veterans, drawing on a survey of 133 sons and 182 daughters from a cohort of 179 veteran families. It examines exposure to different types of trauma, prevalence of mental illness, and suicidality, as compared with the 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing. The study finds that the children of veterans were more likely than the general population to report exposure to traumas such as natural disasters, fire, explosions, or transport accidents, with veteran's sons more likely to report exposure to toxic chemicals and veteran's daughters more likely to report sexual assault. Higher prevalences of alcohol and drug dependence, depression and anxiety, and PTSD were also reported.

2017 ADF Families Survey

Atkins S, Beach R, Marskell J and Tuddenham E
Canberra, A.C.T. : Directorate of People Intelligence & Research, Dept. of Defence, 2017.
This report presents findings from the 2017 ADF Families Survey - a survey conducted periodically to learn more about the experiences and wellbeing of Australian Defence Force members's families and their satisfaction with family support services. This 2017 survey looked at partner employment, childcare use and access, wellbeing and social support, social engagement and internet connectivity, impact of ADF service on families, service preferences and intentions and agreement among couples, and awareness and use of support services. Overall, 4649 civilian partners, members of a dual ADF couple, single parent ADF members, ADF members with dependants other than partners or children, and parents of ADF members took part.

Intergenerational transmission of post-traumatic stress disorder in Australian Vietnam veterans' families.

O'Toole B, Burton M, Rothwell A, Outram S, Dadds M and Catts S
Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica v. 135 no. 5 May 2017: 363-372
This article investigates the association between post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in war veterans and the development of PTSD in their children. It draws on a study Australian Vietnam veterans and their families, with a total of 125 sons and 168 daughters from 197 families, which examined PTSD in veterans, spouses, and children, exposure to trauma, and mental illness. The analysis finds that PTSD in veterans increased the risk of PTSD in children, with depression in veterans a risk factor also for sons' PTSD.

School-based support for students with a parent on military deployment.

Macdonald G
Children Australia v. 42 no. 1 Mar 2017: 57-65
Parental deployment to a war zone brings many changes to family life. Changes in family roles and routines unsettle children and interfere with their educational engagement. Defence School Transition Aides (DSTAs) are employed in qualifying Australian schools to assist students from Australian Defence Force (ADF) families to manage transitions associated with a parental deployment to a war zone. Reported here are findings from a study that explored parents', teachers' and DSTAs' perspectives of school-based support designed to assist students to cope with their changed circumstances when a parent is deployed. Results indicate that an appreciation of students' worries by school personnel eased their distress. DSTAs facilitated processes whereby peers with deployed parents supported each other. Alerting teachers to an intended deployment was also found to be important as it allowed them to be alert to student behaviour changes and prepare ahead for possible student support needs. DSTAs reminded parents through school newsletters to pass on pertinent deployment-related information to the school so that a coordinated school-family approach for supporting students could be enacted. Further research is required to investigate the educational significance of student support offered by culturally aware key adults and student peers during major life transitions.

ADF Families Survey: absences and relocations

Brown T and Wensing E
Canberra, A.C.T. : Directorate of People Intelligence & Research, Dept. of Defence, 2016.
This report presents findings from the 2015 ADF Families Survey - a survey conducted periodically to learn more about the experiences and wellbeing of Australian Defence Force members's families and their satisfaction with family support services. This 2015 survey focused on participants' experiences with Member with Dependants (Unaccompanied) (MWD(U)) arrangements, which is a designation that can be granted to partners and/or dependants who are unable to live in their allocated home for Service-related or personal reasons: for example, where an ADF member is required to serve in a specific location and their dependants are unable to move due to health, employment, or educational commitments. Over 3500 responses were received. This report provides information on the families and children of ADF members, and use and experience of support services relating to deployment, relocation, and reunion. For those families who had undertaken MWD(U), the ADF spouse's employment was by far the biggest consideration, followed by the ADF member's employment and the maintenance of support networks. The most commonly indicated challenges of MWD(U) were around missing their partner and their partner missing the family. Regarding relocations, the most common number of relocations indicated was between one and three in the last five years. Different aspects of relocation had varying degrees of difficulty, with the most difficult aspects surrounding accessing about services and developing support networks, including for children.

How military families respond before, during and after deployment: findings from the RAND Deployment Life Study

Rand Corporation
Santa Monica, CA : RAND Corporation, 2016.
This paper presents key findings from the Deployment Life Study (DLS) - an American longitudinal study that is assessing the impact of deployment on military families and will help the Department of Defense, policymakers, and service providers better prepare these families for a deployment. The paper discusses family resilience, the outcomes for spouses and children, and how well the characteristics of families and the deployment explain which families are doing better or worse when the service member returns. Three recommendations for programs and services are noted. The findings are detailed in full in the report 'The Deployment Life Study: longitudinal analysis of military families across the deployment cycle.'

The Deployment Life Study: longitudinal analysis of military families across the deployment cycle

Meadows S, Tanielian T and Karney B
Santa Monica, Calif. : RAND Corporation, 2016
"In 2009, RAND launched the Deployment Life Study, a longitudinal study of military families across a deployment cycle in order to assess family readiness. Family readiness refers to the state of being prepared to effectively navigate the challenges of daily living experienced in the unique context of military service. The study surveyed families at frequent intervals throughout a complete deployment cycle - before a service member deploys (sometimes months before), during the actual deployment, and after the service member returns (possibly a year or more after she or he redeployed). It assessed a number of outcomes over time, including: the quality of marital and parental relationships; the psychological, behavioral, and physical health of family members; child and teen well-being (e.g., emotional, behavioral, social, and academic); military integration (e.g., attitudes toward military service, retention intentions). This culminating report briefly reviews the study design and data collection procedures, presents results from analyses of the longitudinal data collected from some 2,700 military families, and offers recommendations for programs and future research related to military families"--Publisher's website.

Narrative, acculturation and ritual : themes from a socio-ecological study of Australian Defence Force families experiencing parental deployment.

Baber M
Children Australia v. 41 no. 2 Jun 2016: 141-153
Military deployment is typically considered a stressful period for families, generally lasting between 3 to 6 months for Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel. To date, insufficient research has been conducted concerning children and families who experience deployment within an Australian context. This study seeks to provide valuable insight into families with young children and explore their experiences of military deployment in an Australian context. Using a socio-constructivist approach, where truth is socially constructed both individually and culturally, ADF parents' perceptions of their experiences are examined. Using Narrative Research, multiple methods of data collection are combined to gather various insights into families' experiences. Data analysis was conducted using thematic verification identifying two main themes. Embracing an interpretivist epistemology, the researcher aims to create a shared knowledge around families' understanding and experiences of deployment. Such knowledge will be helpful for effective support of parents, educators and professionals in their role with these children in the community.

What is the prevalence of risk-taking behaviours in the children of former or current military personnel?: a rapid evidence assessment

Wilks S and Muir S
Canberra, A.C.T. : Dept. of Veterans' Affairs, 2015.
Two recent studies suggested that the children of Vietnam veterans in Australia have relatively high rates of accidental death: to account for this, the authors wondered whether military-connected children may have a particular propensity to engage in risky behaviour. In light of these studies, this literature review investigates whether this is indeed the case. It synthesises and assesses the evidence on the prevalence of risk-taking behaviour in children of former and current military personnel, focusing on the following specific behaviours that carry an immediate or near immediate risk of harm or are proxies of such behaviour: high-risk drinking, illicit drug use and pharmaceutical misuse, dangerous driving, unsafe sex, crime, delinquency, and school absenteeism. The review utilises the 'Rapid Evidence Assessment' (REA) methodology developed for the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) by Phoenix Australia - the Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health. Overall, the review found that no conclusions can be drawn as to whether there is a meaningful difference between the propensity of military and non-military offspring to engage in such risk-taking behaviour, and that further research is required. Note, the review is presented in 3 parts: a technical paper, a summary paper, and an evidence profile.

Military Family Life Project - Active Duty Spouse Study: longitudinal analyses 2010-2012 project report

Defense Manpower Data Center (U.S.), United States. Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy
United States : Military OneSource, 2015
The Military Family Life Project is large-scale longitudinal survey of American military families, which which was established by the Department of Defense in 2010. The survey aims to better understand the impact of military deployments and relocation on families, spouses, and children over time. This report analyses data from the first 3 years of data collection. It discusses spouse wellbeing and mental health, spouse education and employment, spouse satisfaction on military life and support for active duty, financial wellbeing, child attachment and reconnection, child behaviour problems and wellbeing, which outcomes change or remain stable over time, the impacts of deployment over time, permanent change of station moves, and the impact of child and spouse factors.

Report of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission: final report.

United States. Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission
Arlington, VA : Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission, 2015.
This report presents the 15 recommendations of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission of the United States. These recommendations aim to create a compensations package that ensures the long-term success of the All-Volunteer Force, enables the quality of life for members of the Uniformed Services, and improves the fiscal sustainability of the compensation and retirement systems. Issues addressed include: retirement savings, survivor benefits, financial literacy, combat casualty care, health care for family members and veterans, access to child care on military installations, and assist the transition to civilian life through education and job program grants.

Military and veteran families and children: policies and programs for health maintenance and positive development

Cozza S, Lerner R and Haskins R
Ann Arbor, Mich. : Society for Research in Child Development, 2014.
"This Social Policy Report summarizes what is currently known about our nation's military children and families and presents ideas and proposals pertinent to the formulation of new programs and the policies that would create and sustain these initiatives. We emphasize the need for future rigorous developmental research about military children and families that could more definitively inform future programs and policies. These policies and programs should build on the resilience of military children and families in order to best maintain and enhance their health and positive development. The goal of our recommendations is to have better policy and program preparedness so that the next time the U.S. is engaged in a conflict, we can more quickly and efficiently provide the specific support and treatment that military families and children need and merit."

Military deployment and its consequences for families

MacDermid S and Riggs D
New York : Springer, 2014.
"We are only beginning to comprehend the extent of the challenges faced by men and women serving in the military - a vast web of difficulties that include those left behind for families when service members leave for combat, and the ones that loom over families when they return. The contributors to [this book examine] the complexities of military life, and how individual sacrifices translate into stressors for partners and children. Focusing on key areas such as relationship and parenting issues and the effects of wounds and injuries, chapters span the diversity of active duty, veteran, National Guard, and Reserve families, including LGB families and divorced and single service members. These findings on challenges, resources, and coping strategies gives readers expert guidance in providing services for military families and helping shape the agenda for further research."

2014 military family lifestyle survey: comprehensive report

Blue Star Families (Organization), Syracuse University. Institute for Veterans and Military Families
Washington, D.C. : Blue Star Families, 2014.
This report presents the findings from the fifth annual survey on the experiences and issues of military families in the United States. 6,270 military personnel and family members responded, raising such concerns as military pay and benefits, changes to retirement benefits, impact of deployment on children, military spouse employment, and military lifestyle uncertainty. Topics include: recommending military service; reasons for joining the military; civic engagement and volunteerism; service utilization and satisfaction; transition preparation and challenges; spouse employment; child care; children's emotional wellbeing; impact of deployment and separation on children; support for families with special needs; parents of service members; living arrangements; caregiving; well-being and coping ability; social media use and family communication; and mental health and wellness. The findings are also published as an infographic and a 1 page summary.

Military families in transition: stress, resilience, and well-being : conference report

Ursano R, Gabbay F and Fullerton C
Bethesda, MD : Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, 2014.
"The health and well-being of military families is a key part of sustaining the health and readiness of our military forces. The Forum on Health and National Security addressed interventions to mitigate the effects of stressors confronted by military families and strategies to enhance the resilience and well-being of these families, as wartime transitions to peace, garrison, and small group deployments. Participants represented military and civilian leaders, and health care and family services educators, researchers, planners, and providers. The goal of the Forum was to share knowledge across the disciplinary boundaries, and to develop new perspectives and vantage points, in order to better understand the needs of military families."--Preface.

Vietnam Veterans Family Study. Volume 3, Part 2: A study of mortality patterns of Vietnam Veteran families - supplementary analysis of the study data.

Forrest W, Edwards B and Daraganova G
Vietnam Veterans Family Study. Canberra : Department of Veterans' Affairs, 2014: volume 3, p73-106
As part of the Vietnam Veterans Family Study, the Children of Vietnam Veterans Mortality Study was conducted to determine whether children of Vietnam veterans have an increased risk of mortality compared with children of non-deployed military personnel or the general population. Following on from the main study analysis in part one, this section of the report presents supplementary analyses. Mortality due to cancer, suicide, assault, and accidents are considered. It finds that due to the differences between Vietnam veterans and their non-deployed peers, at least some of the disparities in children's mortality rates could be due to factors beyond their fathers' military service. These differences are taken into account.

Vietnam Veterans Family Study. Volume 2, A study of health and social issues in Vietnam Veteran sons and daughters.

Forrest W, Edwards B and Daraganova G
Vietnam Veterans Family Study. Canberra : Department of Veterans' Affairs, 2014: volume 2
As part of the Vietnam Veterans Family Study, this section investigates the intergenerational effects of service in the Vietnam War on the health of veterans' families. Drawing on data from over 27,000 Vietnam veterans and their families, it examines the physical, mental, social, and economic wellbeing of the sons and daughters of veterans, and the risk, protective and mediating factors involved. Comparisons are made with children of Defence Force personnel who did not deploy during the war.

Parents' perspectives of their children's reactions to an Australian military deployment.

Siebler P and Goddard C
Children Australia v. 39 no. 1 Mar 2014: 17-24
This article reports on a qualitative study of Australian parents' perceptions of their children's reactions to a military deployment as well as their help-seeking behaviours. Thirty-eight in-depth interviews were conducted with 34 Australian Defence Force (ADF) parents and 33 non-deployed parents (67 participants). Twenty-nine interviews were with couples and nine were with individuals. The findings revealed that this group of children generally fared poorly in terms of physical and mental health, and behavioural outcomes. Children and adolescents had a number of needs which were not identified, assessed or treated, and prevention programmes were reported to be limited. Factors that are associated with positive and negative outcomes from the families' perspective are outlined. The data showed how developing a deeper understanding of military families' needs, as well as positive worker-parent relationships, would enhance the therapeutic alliance between parents and service providers. Implications for prevention and intervention approaches in relation to both policy and service delivery are outlined.

Vietnam Veterans Family Study

Australia. Dept. of Veterans' Affairs, Australian Institute of Family Studies, University of Queensland, Enhance Management (Firm), Open Mind Research Group (Firm), TNS Australia
Canberra : Department of Veterans' Affairs, 2014.
The Federal Government commissioned the Vietnam Veterans Family Study to gain a better understanding of the effects of Vietnam War service on the physical, mental, and social health of the family members of Australian Vietnam veterans, and to help guide future policy and initiatives. Over 27,000 Vietnam veterans and their families participated. The findings are presented in four volumes. Volume 1 introduces the study and summarises the findings. Volume 2 investigates the intergenerational effects on the health and wellbeing of veterans' children, including the risk, protective and mediating factors. Volume 3 presents two analyses of data from the Children of Vietnam Veterans Mortality Study, comparing the mortality rates of children of Veteran veterans with children of the general population and also children of Defence Force personnel who did not deploy. Volume 4 presents four qualitative studies, on the family dynamics affecting health and quality of life, the self-reported experiences of daily life, and health status risk and protective factors.

Military children and families

Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Brookings Institution
Princeton, NJ : The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and The Brookings Institution, 2013

Home front alert: the risks facing young children in military families

Murphey D
Bethesda, MD : Child Trends, 2013.
When a parent goes to war, families are deeply affected - young children in particular. This paper summarises the findings of a research review on what we know - and don't know - about how military life affects child wellbeing. It discusses why young children are at particular risk, demographic changes in military life in the United States today, deployment and parental separation, residential mobility, child care needs, return from deployment, and trauma and loss. The paper also considers the policy implications for supporting young children in military families.

When the warrior returns: making the transition at home

Ainspan N and Penk W
Annapolis, Md. : Naval Institute Press, c2012.
"Nearly two million soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen have been deployed in recent conflicts. [This book] addresses the practical and psychological needs of the families of these transitioning service members and provides a convenient list of key resources. Combining the knowledge of fifty experts, the book provides answers to questions about the post-deployment transition process, how it affects families, and how family members can help their service members and themselves navigate the transition successfully as a family. These experts provide straightforward answers to questions about the transition process and how it impacts the warrior and their children."
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