More than 125 years have passed since William T. Sherman first observed that “war is hell”; since that time, surprisingly little attention has been paid to the effect of war on the young children of soldiers. The article by Chartrand et al1 in this issue of the Archives begins to advance our understanding of the effect of parents' wartime deployment on the behavior of preschool-aged children. Their study found, not surprisingly, that parents with children aged 3 years or older and a spouse who was deployed had significantly higher scores on self-report measures of depression when compared with other military families with children attending the same childcare centers on a large Marine base with a high rate of deployment. After controlling for a number of variables, including the nondeployed parents' stress and depressive symptoms, children aged 3 years or older with a currently deployed parent had significantly higher externalizing and total scores on the Child Behavior Checklist parent form and the Child Behavior Checklist Teacher Report Form.
Schonfeld DJ, Gurwitch R. Effect of Parents' Deployment on Young ChildrenFindings That Are Long Overdue. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2008;162(11):1094-1095. doi:10.1001/archpedi.162.11.1094