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The Children of Military Service Members: Challenges, Supports, and Future Educational Research

Article

This paper reviewed studies on military children and families that  examined links between special circumstances and stressors as well as outcomes that are known to impact students’ school experiences.

Abstract

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have led to concerning psychological, behavioral, and academic outcomes for children in military families. Of the 1.2 million school-aged children of military service members, only 86,000 actually attend schools administered by the Department of Defense on military installations throughout the world. The remaining military children attend schools administered by civilian public schools, private schools, and other civilian-run educational agencies. At present, there is a knowledge gap in educational research regarding military-connected schools and students. Given the lack of educational research on military children, the primary objective of this review is to outline findings from noneducational disciplinary empirical literatures that are of direct relevance to schooling for educational researchers who want to conduct studies on military-connected schools and students. The authors reviewed studies on military children and their families that examined links between special circumstances and stressors as well as outcomes that are known to impact students’ school experiences. A synthesis of literature generated six themes: mental health in military families, child maltreatment, the impact of deployment on military children and families, the reintegration experience, war-related trauma of the returning veteran parent, and the experience of Reservist and Guard families in civilian contexts. The article concludes with a heuristic model for future educational research, including linkages to school reform.

Full Reference

Tunac De Pedro, K. M., Avi Astor, R., Benbenishty, R., Estrada, J., Dejoie Smith, G. R. and Esqueda, M. C., 2011. The Children of Military Service Members: Challenges, Supports, and Future Educational Research. Review of Educational Research, 81(4), pp. 566-618.