Well-Being of Children From Military Families: the Role of Parental Deployment
A. Skomorovsky1, A. Bullock1
1Defence Research and Development Canada, Department of National Defence, Canada
Background: Research suggests that military life stressors have a negative impact on the well-being of children from military families. However, little research has been conducted to examine the well-being of children from military families in Canada. This study examined the impact of military stressors on the well-being of children in Canadian Armed Forces families. Methods: Focus groups were conducted with children between the ages of 8 and 13 (N=85 children). MAXQDA software was used for the thematic analysis of the qualitative data. Results: Parental deployment and frequent relocations were found to be the main stressors reported by children. The overall well-being of the children decreased during parental deployment. Nevertheless, the vast majority of the children believed it was good to be part of a military family. Moreover, several strategies, such as seeking social support, communication with the deployed parent, and active distraction were reported to buffer the stress related to military life. Discussion: It is crucial to understand how children from military families can maintain resiliency in the face of the military life stressors. This research shows that several factors, including effective coping strategies and supportive networks, may buffer the effects of military life stressors on child well-being. Recommendations to military family service providers are offered.