New research has shown that, not surprisingly, there are more visits to the doctor for mental health issues in children of military families when one of the parents is deployed. I what is being called the most comprehensive study so far conducted on this issue, the conclusion of the research showed a 10% rise in doctor visits when one parent is deployed as compared to when that parent is at home.
Interestingly, although doctor visits for problems in children such as anxiety and school misbehavior increase when the parent is off to war, other complaints for all physical problems fell.
It is not rocket science to know that deployment puts a strain on families, especially on the parent who is left at home with the kids. But this study surveyed over half a million children, making it an excellent and reliable reflection of the general reality that military families face when a parent is deployed.
The study will be published in the journal Pediatrics was led by Dr. Gregory H. Gorman of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. He and his team analyzed the health records of children between the ages of 3 and 8 who have at least one parent in the military services. The over 640,000 records compared how often and for what reasons children were brought to the doctor during 2006-2007 when parents were home and when they were deployed.
“This study gives us an excellent beginning to understand what’s happening” in military households, said Benjamin Karney, a psychologist at the University of California, Los Angeles. “It’s pretty amazing that they were able to look at essentially the entire military population and strongly document something we suspected was happening but didn’t know for sure.”