Children Of Deployed Parents More Likely To Suffer Mental Health Problems

The New York Times: "Young children in military families are about 10 percent more likely to see a doctor for a mental difficulty when a parent is deployed than when the parent is home, researchers are reporting Monday in the most comprehensive study to date of such families' use of health insurance during wartime." The new study showed "[s]tress, anxiety and attention-deficit problems were among the more common diagnoses, and mothers were far more likely than fathers to take a child to a doctor. 'It's not clear yet whether kids are in fact suffering more mental problems when a parent is deployed, or that mothers are more attendant to any shift in behavior,' Dr. [Benjamin] Karney [a University of California-Los Angeles psychologist] said. 'That's the next question we have to ask'" (Carey, 11/8).

USA Today: The number of overall "doctors' visits declined 11 percent during deployment, perhaps because the lone parent at home was so busy, says study author Gregory Gorman, who analyzed the medical records of nearly 643,000 children and 443,000 parents from 2006 to 2007. … The new study may actually underestimate the psychological stress on military families because it included all branches of the service, instead of concentrating on the Army and Marines, who have done most of the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, says Deborah Gibbs of RTI International in Research Triangle Park, N.C., author of the maltreatment study" (Szabo, 11/7).

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