Mental-health Problems: Children of the Military

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Another recent article in the Huffington Post reports on mental-health problems suffered by children who are from military families.

“The latest study on military children, published this month in the Journal Pediatrics, looked at more than a half million military children ages 3 to 8 whose parents were deployed. Researchers found that behavioral disorders, such as attention deficit disorder, increased 18 percent, and stress disorders, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) rose by 19 percent when parents were gone. What researchers still don’t know, however, is whether — and how — the negative effects of these numerous parent-child separations will persist into adulthood.”

It is not only the children who suffer:

“The separations take a toll on spouses too. Wives of soldiers sent to war suffer significantly higher rates of mental health issues than those whose husbands stayed home, according to a study on Army wives published earlier this year in the New England Journal of Medicine. And they sometimes take out their frustrations on their own children. One study of enlisted Army families in Texas, for example, showed that the rate of child maltreatment during a combat parent’s deployment was 42 percent higher than before deployment; mothers left behind to care for their children alone were the most likely perpetrators of these incidents.”

The authors reach a sobering conclusion:

“In these hard times, as policy makers and child advocates continue to watch out for the nation’s at-risk children, they need to expand their concern to the two million children growing up in military families. The military community has long taken care of its own. Now it needs some help.”

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