HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Evaluation of a Family-Centered Prevention Intervention for Military Children and Families Facing Wartime Deployments

Article

More than 1.7 million children in the United States have a parent serving in the military. Since September 11, 2001, approximately 900,000 children have had a parent who deployed multiple times. For a decade, children and their parents have experienced repeated separations and reunions. This evaluation provides preliminary evidence that FOCUS (Families OverComing Under Stress) for military families is feasible, is well tolerated, and can lead to significant benefits for parents, children and families.

Abstract

We evaluated the Families OverComing Under Stress program, which provides resiliency training designed to enhance family psychological health in US military families affected by combat- and deployment-related stress. Family members reported high levels of satisfaction with the program and positive impact on parent-child indicators. Psychological distress levels were elevated for service members, civilian parents and children at program entry compared with community norms. Change scores showed significant improvements across all measures for service member and civilian parents and their children (P<.001). Evaluation data provided preliminary support for a strength-based, trauma-informed military family prevention program to promote resiliency and mitigate the impact of wartime deployment stress.

Full Reference

Patricia Lester, William R. Saltzman, Kirsten Woodward, Dorie Glover, Gregory A. Leskin, Brenda Bursch, Robert Pynoos, William Beardslee, 2012, American Journal of Public Health, Evaluation of a Family-Centered Prevention Intervention for Military Children and Families Facing Wartime Deployments, 102, 1, 48-54.