Military Life Stressors, Family Communication and Satisfaction: Associations with Children's Psychosocial Outcomes.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Families experience multiple stressors as a result of military service. The purpose of this study was to examine facets of military life and family factors that may impact child psychosocial and mental health functioning. Using baseline data from the Millennium Cohort Family Study, this study examined family demographics and composition (age, number of children), military life stressors (injury, family, and deployment stressors), family communication and satisfaction as assessed by the Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scale-IV, parental social functioning assessed via the Short Form Health Survey-36, and child mental health and behavioral functioning (parental reports of clinician-diagnosed mental health conditions such as depression) and an adapted version of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. Injury- and family-related military stressors were significant indicators of heightened risk for child mental health conditions, whereas greater levels of parental social functioning and family satisfaction were associated with lower risk of child mental health conditions. Differential associations were found in child functioning when military-related variables (e.g., service component), sociodemographic, and family composition factors (number and age of the children in the home) were examined. These findings underscore the importance of examining the "whole child" within the broader ecological and military family context to understand factors associated with children's mental and behavioral health. The results from the present study highlight the complex relationships that may be at play, which, in turn, have considerable implications for the development of policies to support children and families encountering multiple stressors related to a parent's military service.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Briggs, EC; Fairbank, JA; Tunno, AM; Lee, RC; Corry, NH; Pflieger, JC; Stander, VA; Murphy, RA

Published Date

  • March 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 13 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 75 - 87

PubMed ID

  • 32318230

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC7163866

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1936-1521

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s40653-019-00259-z


  • eng

Conference Location

  • Switzerland