Lessons Learned and Future Recommendations for Conducting Research with Military Children and Families
When the US military began combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2002, little was known about how military children and families would be affected by combat-related service in an era of prolonged war. The ability of clinicians, policymakers, community service providers, commanders, and researchers to meet the needs of military children was limited by outdated research, inappropriate comparison groups, uneven systems of care, and a lack of evidence-based practices to guide intervention. Fortunately, strategic partnerships grew out of the collaborative efforts of academics, practitioners, and military leadership united in a common mission to support military children and families. This chapter describes the historical context of research on military children and families, identifying challenges to conducting high-quality research, and delineating best practices for scholarship. The following research-related lessons learned are highlighted: understanding and respecting military family culture, building trust within the community, fostering lasting relationships within the community, building collaborative multidisciplinary academic research teams, and sustaining a scientific military family program of research. Recommendations and future directions for researchers, military leaders, policymakers, and funders are also discussed.
KeywordsMilitary Children Families Research Military Command Military Culture Funding Policy Deployment Combat
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