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This Month in Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
May 2008

This Month in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2008;162(11):1007. doi:10.1001/archpedi.162.11.1007

While many studies have focused on the mental health of soldiers returning from active duty, little attention has been paid to the emotional and behavioral consequences of such deployment on their children. Chartrand and colleagues examined the mental health of children aged 1½ to 5 years in military families. Despite relatively short deployments (mean, 3.9 months), children 3 years of age or older with a deployed parent had significantly higher scores for both internalizing and externalizing behavior problems than children of nondeployed parents. For children in the older age group, deployment of a parent significantly increased the risk of having a clinically elevated internalizing score. Younger children appear to react differently and did not have elevated scores. Larger, longitudinal studies are needed to examine changes in children's behavior related to parental deployment over time and should inform intervention to prevent and ameliorate such problems.