Deployment separation and reunifications are salient contexts that directly impact effective family functioning and parenting for military fathers. Yet, we know very little about determinants of postdeployed father involvement and effective parenting. The present study examined hypothesized risk and protective factors of observed parenting for 282 postdeployed fathers who served in the National Guard/Reserves. Preintervention data were employed from fathers participating in the After Deployment, Adaptive Parenting Tools randomized control trial. Parenting practices were obtained from direct observation of father- child interaction and included measures of problem solving, harsh discipline, positive involvement, encouragement, and monitoring. Risk factors included combat exposure, negative life events, months deployed, and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms. Protective factors included education, income, dyadic adjustment, and social support. Results of a structural equation model assessing risk and protective factors for an effective parenting construct indicated that months deployed, income, and father age were most related to observed parenting, explaining 16% of the variance. We are aware of no other study using direct parent- child observations of fathers' parenting skills following overseas deployment. Implications for practice and preventive intervention are discussed.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2015 American Psychological Association.
- Parenting practices
- Protective factors
- Risk factors