A Theory of Risk and Resilience Factors in Military Families


Military families are relatively unique with regard to life events and factors that influence them. For example, deployment and frequent relocations. This study finds that relocation may not be directly detrimental to children and adolescents in military families. However, combat exposure and parental deployment and reunion appear to directly affect military parents and indirectly affect child outcomes.


This article discusses risk and resilience factors that may affect military families, with a focus on frequent relocation, deployment, exposure to combat and PTSD, and post-deployment reunion as possible risk factors influencing child psychosocial and academic outcome. Research findings are presented as supporting a theoretical pathway that suggests that the effects of military life on child outcome may follow an indirect pathway involving parental stress and psychopathology, rather than military life directly affecting children of military parents. The proposed pathway also serves to highlight the need for further research on understudied resilience factors and provides suggestions for interventions that may benefit military families.

Full Reference

Palmer, C., 2008. "A Theory of Risk and Resilience Factors in Military Families", Military Psychology, 20 (3), 205-217.