Effects of Deployment on Military Families: A Literature Review
Columbia College of Missouri
This review examines the many issues and effects that military deployments have on families. The continuation of Middle Eastern conflicts require a constant flow of military operations in this region. Deployments cause military service members, which can also be spouses and parents, to leave their homes. This is usually for extended periods of time in support of combat operations away from their loved ones. Researchers report findings that show associations between deployments and increased alcohol and drug use, relationship and communication problems, and ...view middle of the document...
Link and Palinkas (2013) states, “For over a decade, the deployment of US military personnel to the conflicts in Iraq (OIF/OND: Operations Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn) and Afghanistan (OEF: Operation Enduring Freedom) has been a significant stressor for military families” (p. 376). As of 2013, more than 2.1 million service members were deployed due to these conflicts, which then affected about 2 million children (Link & Palinkas, 2013). Not only does the seperation factor cause stress, but deployments have a “context of danger” that increases all the cumulative stresses involved during deployments (Lester & Flake, 2013).
Literature Review Methods
The Stafford Library online database accessed through Columbia College of Missouri was systematically searched. Keywords that guided this search was: deployment, effects, military, and family. The search was also limited to only peer-reviewed articles from academic journals that had the full text available to view. Five empirical articles were identified out of thousands for use in this paper of which one article deals exclusively with early child development (Nguyen, Ee, Berry-Cabán, & Hoedebecke, 2014), one article includes drug and alcohol abuse (Acion, Ramirez, Jorge, & Arndt, 2013), one article deals with spouses and service members (Erbes, Meis, Polusny, & Arbis, 2012), and the remaining two articles discuss relationships and communication within the military family (Houston et al., 2013; Lowe et al., 2012). Moreover, the search also revealed thousands of nonempirical articles, including four theoretical discussions/literature reviews (Kaplow et al., 2013; Lester & Flake, 2013; Link & Palinkas, 2013; Paley et al., 2013) that were of interest. This topic can be found within the very broad area of human services and was chosen since helping professionals are needed to work with those who serve in the military as well as their family members.
The sizes of the samples varied between the studies, ranging from the smallest sample size of thirteen to the largest sample size of 59,395 (see Table 1). The participants of the studies were made up of children of military service members, non-military parents/spouses, and service members (see Table 1). Additionally, there was a wide variation in the ranges of the participant’s ages across the studies (see Table 1). A few of the studies had samples that required a smaller specification, for example, children between the ages of six months old to sixty-five months old (see Table 1). Other studies, had a very broad range of the participant’s ages, such as twenty-four years old to fifty-three years old (see Table 1). When combining all the participants of the studies included in this review, it was apparent that the main focus was on the children in the military family (see Table 2). Also, there was approximately equal distribution between male and female participants (see Table 2). However,...