Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 516–525 | Cite as

Challenges Faced by Military Families: Perceptions of United States Marine Corps School Liaisons

Original Paper

Abstract

The global war on terror has placed a number of stressful demands on service members and their families. Although the military offers a wide range of services and supports to military families, not all families are willing or able to use them. For example, geographically dispersed families can find it challenging to connect with military support resources. School liaison programs (SLPs) were developed by the military to foster the development of local partnerships to enhance the academic success of military children. In this study, all 20 Marine Corps school liaisons (SLs) reported on the frequency and severity of stressors experienced by Marine families. We hypothesized that SLs would encounter families contending with a broad array of challenges, well beyond those related to academics. Indeed, SLs reported that military families sought assistance for a wide array of stressors. School transition stressors were most common for children and youth, while deployment-related stress was most common for Marine families. Despite the limitations of this study, the results suggest that families using the Marine SLPs may be a vulnerable group. Military–school–community partnerships may hold out promise for filling in service gaps faced by those military families experiencing high levels of stressor exposure and low levels of coping resources.

Keywords

Military Children Families Stress School 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study was funded by a grant from the Penn State University Military Personnel and Families Research Initiative.

References

  1. Anwieler, J. (2008). Tying the yellow ribbon: How school psychologists and educators can support military families? Communique, 37, 18–19.Google Scholar
  2. Aronson, K. R., Caldwell, L. L., Perkins, D. F., & Pasch, K. W. (2011). Assisting children and families with military-related disruptions: The United States Marine Corps school liaison program. Psychology in the Schools, 48, 998–1015. doi:10.1002/pits.20608.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barnes, V. A., Davis, H., & Treiber, F. A. (2007). Perceived stress, heart rate, and blood pressure among adolescents with family members deployed in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Military Medicine, 172, 40–43.Google Scholar
  4. Berg, K. F. (2008). Easing transitions of military dependents into Hawaii public schools: An invitational education link. Journal of Invitational Theory and Practice, 14, 41–55.Google Scholar
  5. Bowen, G. L., Martin, J. A., Mancini, J. A., & Nelson, J. P. (2000). Community capacity: Antecedents and consequences. Journal of Community Practice, 8, 1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bowen, G. L., Mancini, J. A., Martin, J. A., Ware, W. B., & Nelson, J. P. (2003). Promoting the adaptation of military families: An empirical test of a community practice model. Family Relations: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Applied Family Studies, 52, 33–44. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3729.2003.00033.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brown, D., Pryzwansky, W. B., & Schulte, A. C. (1997). Psychological consultation and collaboration: Introduction to theory and practice. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  8. Burrell, L. M., Adams, G. A., Durand, D. B., & Castro, C. A. (2006). The impact of military lifestyle demands on well-being, army, and family outcomes. Armed Forces and Society, 33, 43–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Castro, C. A., Adler, A. B., & Britt, T. W. (Eds.). (2006). Military life: The psychology of serving in peace and combat—The military family: Common themes and future directions (Vol. 3, pp. 245–246). Westport, CT: Praeger Security International.Google Scholar
  10. Catalano, R. F., Haggerty, K. P., Oesterle, S., Fleming, C. B., & Hawkins, J. (2004). The importance of bonding to school for healthy development: Findings from the social development research group. Journal of School Health, 74, 252–261.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chandler, L. A. (1981). The source of stress inventory. Psychology in the Schools, 18, 164–168. doi:10.1002/1520-6807(198104)18:2<164:AID-PITS2310180209>3.0.CO;2-C.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chandra, A., Sandraluz, L., Jaycox, L. H., Tanielian, T., Burns, R. M., Ruder, T., et al. (2010). Children on the homefront: The experience of children from military families. Pediatrics, 125, 16–25.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Chandra, A., Burns, R. M., Tanielian, T., & Jaycox, L. H. (2011). Understanding the deployment experience for children and youth from military families. New York, NY, USA: Springer Science + Business Media. doi:10.1007/978-1-4419-7064-0_9.Google Scholar
  14. Chartrand, M. M., Frank, D. A., White, L. F., & Shope, T. R. (2008). Effect of parents’ wartime deployment on the behavior of young children in military families. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 162, 1009–1014. doi:10.1001/archpedi.162.11.1009.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cozza, S. J., Chun, R. S., & Polo, J. A. (2005). Military families and children during operation Iraqi freedom. Psychiatric Quarterly, 76, 371–378. doi:10.1007/s11126-005-4973-y.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. De Burgh, H. T., White, C. J., Fear, N. T., & Iversen, A. C. (2011). The impact of deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan on partners and wives of military personnel. International Review of Psychiatry, 23, 192–200.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dekel, R., & Monson, C. M. (2010). Military-related post-traumatic stress disorder and family relations: Current knowledge and future directions. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 15, 303–309. doi:10.1016/j.avb.2010.03.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Department of Defense. (2009). Profile of the military community. Washington, DC: Department of Defense.Google Scholar
  19. Drummet, A. R., Coleman, M., & Cable, S. (2003). Military families under stress: Implications for family life education. Family Relations: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Applied Family Studies, 52, 279–287. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3729.2003.00279.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Ender, M. G. (2006). Voices from the backseat: Demands of growing up in military families. In C. A. Castro, A. B. Adler, & T. W. Britt (Eds.), Military life: The psychology of serving in peace and combat—The military family (Vol. 3, pp. 138–166). Westport, CT: Praeger Security International.Google Scholar
  21. Esposito-Smythers, C., Wolff, J., Lemmon, K. M., Bodzy, M., Swenson, R. R., & Spirito, A. (2011). Military youth and the deployment cycle: Emotional health consequences and recommendations for intervention. Journal of Family Psychology, 25, 497–507. doi:10.1037/a0024534.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Flake, E. M., Davis, B. E., Johnson, P. L., & Middleton, L. S. (2009). The psychosocial effects of deployment on military children. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 30, 271–278. doi:10.1097/DBP.0b013e3181aac6e4.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hoshmand, L. T., & Hoshmand, A. L. (2007). Support for military families and communities. Journal of Community Psychology, 35, 171–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Huebner, A. J., Mancini, J. A., Wilcox, R. M., Grass, S. R., & Grass, G. A. (2007). Parental deployment and youth in military families: Exploring uncertainty and ambiguous loss. Family Relations: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Applied Family Studies, 56, 112–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Huebner, A. J., Mancini, J. A., Bowen, G. L., & Orthner, D. K. (2009). Shadowed by war: Building community capacity to support military families. Family Relations: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Applied Family Studies, 58, 216–228. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3729.2008.00548.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hutton, J. B., Roberts, T. G., Walker, J., & Zuniga, J. (1987). Ratings of severity of life events by ninth-grade students. Psychology in the Schools, 24, 63–68. doi:10.1002/1520-6807(198701)24:1<63:AID-PITS2310240112>3.0.CO;2-W.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Institute of Medicine. (2010). Preliminary assessment of readjustment needs of veterans, service members, and their families. Washington, DC: Institute of Medicine.Google Scholar
  28. Kitmitto, S., Huberman, M., Blankenship, C., Hannan, S., Norris, D., & Christenson, B. (2011). Educational opportunities and performance of military-connected school districts: Final report. San Mateo, CA: American Institutes for Research.Google Scholar
  29. Knobloch, L. K., & Theiss, J. A. (2012). Experiences of U.S. military couples during the post-deployment transition: Applying the relational turbulence model. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 29, 423–450.Google Scholar
  30. Lester, P., Peterson, K., Reeves, J., Knauss, L., Glover, D., Mogil, C., et al. (2010). The long war and parental combat deployment: Effects on military children and at-home spouses. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 49, 310–320. doi:10.1097/00004583-201004000-00006.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. MacDermid, S. M., Samper, R., Schwarz, R., Nishida, J., & Nyaronga, D. (2008). Understanding and promoting resilience in military families. West Lafayette, IN: Military Family Research Institute.Google Scholar
  32. Mahalik, J. R., Good, G. E., & Englar-Carlson, M. (2003). Masculinity scripts, presenting concerns, and help seeking: Implications for practice and training. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 34, 123–131. doi:10.1037/0735-7028.34.2.123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mancini, J. A., Bowen, G. L., & Martin, J. A. (2005). Community social organization: A conceptual linchpin in examining families in the context of communities. Family Relations: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Applied Family Studies, 54, 570–582. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3729.2005.00342.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. McFarlane, A. C. (2009). Military deployment: The impact on children and family adjustment and the need for care. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 22, 369–373. doi:10.1097/YCO.0b013e32832c9064.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Mmari, K. N., Bradshaw, C. P., Sudhinaraset, M., & Blum, R. (2010). Exploring the role of social connectedness among military youth: Perceptions from youth, parents, and school personnel. Child and Youth Care Forum, 39, 351–366. doi:10.1007/s10566-010-9109-3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Mroczek, D. K., & Almeida, D. M. (2004). The effect of daily stress, personality, and age on daily negative affect. Journal of Personality, 72, 355–378. doi:10.1111/j.0022-3506.2004.00265.x.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Park, N. (2011). Military children and families: Strengths and challenges during peace and war. American Psychologist, 66, 65–72. doi:10.1037/a0021249.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Parkerson, G. R., Michener, J. L., Wu, L. R., & Finch, J. N. (1989). The effect of a telephone family assessment intervention on the functional health of patients with elevated family stress. Medical Care, 27, 680–693. doi:10.1097/00005650-198907000-00003.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Perkins, D. F., Feinberg, M. E., Greenberg, M. T., Johnson, L. E., Chilenski, S. M., Mincemoyer, C. C., et al. (2011). Team factors that predict to sustainability indicators for community-based prevention teams. Evaluation and Program Planning, 34, 283–291.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Reiss, D., & Oliveri, M. E. (1991). The family’s conception of accountability and competence: A new approach to the conceptualization and assessment of family stress. Family Process, 30, 193–214.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Rutter, M. (1981). School influences on children’s behavior and development: The 1979 Kenneth Blackfan lecture, Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Boston. Pediatrics, 65, 208–220.Google Scholar
  42. Sayers, S. L. (2011). Family reintegration difficulties and couples therapy for military veterans and their spouses. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 18, 108–119. doi:10.1016/j.cbpra.2010.03.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Sayers, S. L., Farrow, V. A., Ross, J., & Oslin, D. W. (2009). Family problems among recently returned military veterans referred for a mental health evaluation. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 70, 163–170.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Spoth, R., Clair, S., Greenberg, M., Redmond, C., & Shin, C. (2007). Toward dissemination of evidence-based family interventions: Maintenance of community-based partnership recruitment results and associated factors. Journal of Family Psychology, 21, 137–146.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Sylva, K. (1994). School influences on children’s development. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 35, 135–170. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.1994.tb01135.x.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Takai, K. M., & Berg, K. (2010). Commentary: Military partnership improves education for all Hawaiis children. Retrieved December 10, 2010 from http://www.army.mil/-news/2010/06/21/41204-commentary-military-partnership-improves-education-for-all-hawaiis-children/.
  47. Task Force on Educational Issues Affecting Military. (2009). Task force on educational issues affecting military report. Washington, DC: Task Force on Educational Issues Affecting Military.Google Scholar
  48. Thompson, B., & Facon, K. (2011). Supporting military children in school settings: DCOE webinar (unpublished manuscript).Google Scholar
  49. United States Marine Corps. (2008). USMC school liaison handbook (unpublished manuscript).Google Scholar
  50. US Department of Defense. (2011). Update to the report on assistance to local educational agencies for defense dependents education. Arlington, VA: Department of Defense.Google Scholar
  51. Wadsworth, S. M. M. (2010). Family risk and resilience in the context of war and terrorism. Journal of Marriage and Family, 72(3), 537–556. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3737.2010.00717.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Weber, E. G., & Weber, D. K. (2005). Geographic relocation frequency, resilience, and military adolescent behavior. Military Medicine, 170(7), 638–642.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. Webster-Stratton, C. (1990). Stress: A potential disruptor of parent perceptions and family interactions. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 19(4), 302–312. doi:10.1207/s15374424jccp1904_2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Willerton, E., Wadsworth, S. M., & Riggs, D. (2011). Introduction: Military families under stress—What we know and what we need to know. New York, NY, USA: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-1-4419-7064-0_1.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Clearinghouse for Military Family ReadinessThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

Personalised recommendations