Helping Military Families Through the Deployment Process: Strategies To Support Parenting

Abigail H. Gewirtz, Christopher R. Erbes, Melissa A. Polusny, Marion S. Forgatch, David S. DeGarmo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Scopus citations


Recent studies have highlighted the impact of deployment on military families and children and the corresponding need for interventions to support them. Historically, however, little emphasis has been placed on family-based interventions in general, and parenting interventions in particular, with returning service members. This article provides an overview of research on the associations between combat deployment, parental adjustment of service members and spouses, parenting impairments, and children's adjustment problems. We provide a social interaction learning framework for research and practice to support parenting among military families affected by a parent's deployment. We then describe the Parent Management Training-Oregon model (PMTO), a family of interventions that improves parenting practices and child adjustment in highly stressed families, and briefly present work on an adaptation of PMTO for use with military families (After Deployment: Adaptive Parenting Tools, or ADAPT). The article concludes with PMTO-based recommendations for clinicians providing parenting support to military families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-62
Number of pages7
JournalProfessional Psychology: Research and Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • Children
  • Deployment
  • Military families
  • Parenting


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