OTHER SOCIAL ISSUES

Facilitating Successful Reintegration: Attending to the Needs of Military Families

Article

This article explores the needs of military families during transition and reintegration into civilian society.

Abstract

Subsequent to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the experiences of military service members (MSVMs) and veterans have garnered increasing attention. A growing body of work has begun to shed light on their reintegration, a process that can bring with it transitions and challenges for service members and their families. Although many families adapt effectively, some have difficulty navigating this process, which can lead to a host of short- and long-term negative consequences for families. The literature to date is not well-developed regarding strategies for supporting successful reintegration of MSVMs and veterans in the context of military families. Guided by the ecological framework, this article summarizes selected evidence regarding factors that influence reintegration and puts forth recommendations for research and practice to promote the wellness of military families. Informed by findings regarding the diverse challenges faced by these families and grounded in the ecological framework, the authors highlight the need to assess both proximal and distal factors related to families’ reintegration experiences and the need to intervene at multiple levels and across multiple contexts. Of primary importance, the authors recommend strategies to enhance the capacity of families’ natural settings and describe selected capacity- and resource- enhancement approaches for families, neighborhoods, schools, and communities that facilitate resilience and promote wellness. Other recommendations include focusing on the accessibility, integration, and coordination of services; considering the long-view and developing strategies for longer-term support; developing mechanisms for family support; and evaluating efforts to address needs of families and promote family resilience.

Full Reference

Gil-Rivas, V., Kilmer, R. P., Larson, J. C., & Armstrong, L. M., 2017. Facilitating successful reintegration: Attending to the needs of military families. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 87(2), 176-184.