A Meta-Analytic Review of Internalizing, Externalizing, and Academic Adjustment Among Children of Deployed Military Service Members

Noel A. Card, Leslie Bosch, Deborah M. Casper, Christine Bracamonte Wiggs, Stacy Ann Hawkins, Gabriel L. Schlomer, Lynne M. Borden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations

Abstract

Parental deployment during military conflicts has the potential to impact child adjustment. As increased numbers of military Service members have children, it is critical to understand the association between military deployment and child adjustment. In order to resolve inconsistencies in the existing literature, we performed a meta-analytic review of 16 studies that report associations of military deployment with internalizing, externalizing, and academic adjustment among children. Results indicate a small association between deployment and poorer adjustment. This association varied across several features of the studies. Age moderation was such that the associations are strongest in middle childhood and weakest during adolescence. The method that adjustment was assessed also moderated this association, such that maladjustment was evident primarily with parents' reports. Study design also moderated associations, such that comparisons to civilian controls indicated associations with maladjustment, whereas comparisons to nondeployed military and prepost comparisons did not. These findings summarize the existing quantitative literature to indicate that parental deployment has a negligible association with child maladjustment and provide a foundation for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)508-520
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Volume25
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2011

Keywords

  • Academic adjustment
  • Child psychopathology
  • Externalizing
  • Internalizing
  • Meta-analysis
  • Military deployment

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