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How does deployment affect children?

MONDAY, Nov. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Mental and behavioral problems cause children of U.S. soldiers deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and other war zones to need considerably more outpatient medical visits than those with non-deployed parents, a new study suggests.

Researchers examined the medical records of more than 640,000 military children between the ages of 3 and 8, and found that those separated from deployed parents sought treatment 11 percent more often for cases of mood, anxiety and adjustment disorders. Visits for conditions such as autism and attention-deficit disorder, whose causes are not linked to deployment, also increased.

The study, reported online Nov. 8 and in the December issue of the journal Pediatrics, also revealed larger increases in mental and behavioral visits among older children, children with military fathers and children of married military parents.


Asked by sweet-a-kins at 10:27 AM on Nov. 8, 2010 in Politics & Current Events

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Answers (21)
  • I think their Mom's attitude and behavior influences the kids. My DH was active duty, career Military for 21 years. We were without Dad for several months quite often (and a whole year when they were in gradeschool) but we didn't panic and I didn't let it bother me. I was able to cope and manage quite well. I never worried about being alone and I could take care of the home, the kids, the bill paying. They never saw me being upset because I wasn't. They didn't hear me panic and wish Daddy was there to help change a lightbulb! LOL. We had fun,. just me and my three kids,and nobody got sick or needed trips to the Base Clinic. I don't understad why this is happening NOW?

    Answer by kerp1960 at 10:35 AM on Nov. 8, 2010

  • Oh,I might add, he was in Vietnam, during the worst period of the war and he flew missions. andlater at all the bases we went to, he had practice , upgrading tests, TDY's,flew in a jet which is not the safest job in the world....but we managed and we didn't crumple in fear and get sick. I just don't get it.Maybe the wives are really young and fresh out of Mom and Dad's protective wings and home?

    Answer by kerp1960 at 10:39 AM on Nov. 8, 2010

  • I agree with kerp. I think it's all in how the mom handles it. Maybe it has to do with all the anti-war stuff going on? but kerp's DH was in Vietnam which had similar reactions to this one. Who knows? I think there is overdiagnosis going on in many cases nowadays for everyone so maybe that's part of it. Maybe young mothers? Maybe no support system? Who knows. Kerp, I'm glad you were able to get through that alright and stay strong. mhaney, I'm so sorry that that happened to you, that is awful :(

    Answer by kittieashy at 10:48 AM on Nov. 8, 2010

  • My children have had no problems with the deployments. One of them is a special needs child.

    I have to agree with kerp..enough so that I voted her up! I think a lot of it depends on the parent at home. I am a very strong parental figure and I just suck up the things that come along. Sure there are difficult times..even times when I cry. My kids NEVER see that though. I also think society "pets" these kids a little too much. Throughout history children have endured and survived much worse things than a parent being deployed.

    I am not entirely satisfied with the study either. There are a lot of variables that are hard to consider.

    Answer by yourspecialkid at 10:49 AM on Nov. 8, 2010

  • I think their Mom's attitude and behavior influences the kids.

    While I agree.. It isn't just moms. Our neighbor is a father of a 3 year old son who's wife (DR deployed to Afghanistan) has been deployed for 11 months.

    A strong Key Spouse can help pick up some clues that the spouse of a deployed soldier is in need of extra support/programs. Can't make them participate, but can let them know help IS available..  I have seen on more than one occassion where a spouse closes up in their home when their deployed spouse leaves.  That can have a serious negative impact on the children's development.. Mind Body, and Soul... 


    Answer by grlygrlz2 at 11:06 AM on Nov. 8, 2010

  • i think that the number of kids getting treatment is higher, bc we, as military spouses, look for cues that our children are upset and need help, becasue we know they have a reason to be. Civilian mothers dont have to deal with that, so they arent looking for it, therefore they dont seek treatment. Before the Army, I know if my child acted out and was being difficult, I just thought that it sucked and moved on, but now I take into consideration the fact that daddy has been gone for a long time, and they arent coping well. As a mother of 3 almost 4, I know that my children have done pretty 5 yr old has been a bit moody since r&r, but I know she will get over when he gets home next month

    Answer by LuvMyMedic3ID at 11:33 AM on Nov. 8, 2010

  • I had to vote kerp up, too. I just don't think parents have things "together" like they used to. People used to take pride in being able to make things work. My dad was often away with the military, and while my mom sucked even before she lost it completely, my grandparents were very supportive on both sides, and one of them was always staying with us and keeping things sane.

    I still can count on one hand the amount of times I've really lost control in front of my kids. Each time was a death in the family, and each time I was able to pull myself together and take care of things well, then take my time to grieve when it wasn't too much for them. My girls are growing up knowing that they can handle ANYTHING.

    Answer by lovinangels at 11:46 AM on Nov. 8, 2010

  • and by all on the mom i should say all on the parent who isnt active duty...sorry!

    Answer by okmanders at 12:16 PM on Nov. 8, 2010

  • sweet-a-kins

    Comment by sweet-a-kins (original poster) at 10:27 AM on Nov. 8, 2010

  • not surprising, but my kids are fine. in fact, the deployments worked in our favor.. he was gone so much.. then when he was discharged he left us.. so it wasn't really an adjustment for them. now when he visits (which is rare) they couldn't care less about him.

    Answer by mhaney03 at 10:35 AM on Nov. 8, 2010