A Scoping Review of the Effects of Military Deployment on Reserve Component Children

Abstract

Background

There are more than half a million military Reserve Component (RC) connected children but little research that has examined the effects of parental deployment on this population. Much of what is known comes from active duty families. There is a need to better understand the effects of RC parental deployment on children and families.

Objective

This scoping review examined the current literature on the impact of parental deployment in RC families.

Method

We used the PRISMA Extension for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR) to guide the search, data charting, synthesis, and review. We searched PubMed, PsychInfo, Scopus, and Social Work Abstracts databases for relevant articles published in English on impact of parental deployment on military connected children.

Results

Seventeen studies met the inclusion criteria out of the total 1393 studies identified in our search. These studies were all conducted in the USA, and years of publication ranged between 2002 and 2017. Findings were classified into four themes, namely, role changes for non-deployed parents, behavior changes in children, child anxiety and fear, and support networks.

Conclusions

Knowing if deployment impacts RC children and families differently from active duty families will guide development of appropriate policy and programs that better support them during periods of prolonged active duty service and to enhance recruitment and retention. Therefore, further research is needed to identify and develop interventions to address problems highlighted in our themes including, behavioral problems in children, child anxiety and fear, and role changes for the non-deployed parents/children, and support networks.

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Acknowledgements

None.

Funding

The authors did not receive support from any organization for the submitted work.

Conflicts of interest/Competing interests

The authors declare they have no conflict of interests nor any competing interests.

Availability of Data and Material

Data used to extract 17 articles are available electronically in an Excel spreadsheet upon request.

Code Availability

PRISMA Guidelines were used, Covidence was used to systematically review the literature and to extract data from the 17 identified studies, and Endnote was used to catalog references.

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Contributions

All authors contributed to the conception and design of this study. All authors approved and read the final manuscript. Material preparation, data collection, and analysis were performed by Shelby Veri and Carolyne Muthoni. A. Suzanne Boyd and Margaret Wilmoth helped with the writing and editing of the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Shelby Veri.

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Veri, S., Muthoni, C., Boyd, A. et al. A Scoping Review of the Effects of Military Deployment on Reserve Component Children. Child Youth Care Forum (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10566-020-09590-1

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Keywords

  • Military reserve components
  • Parental deployment
  • Military connected children
  • National guard
  • Army reserve
  • Families