The Impact of Deployment on Navy Families: Mitigators, Mediators, and Moderators of Parenting Stress

Marter, Abigail, Nursing - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Bullock, Linda, School of Nursing, University of Virginia

The current global geopolitical environment has necessitated more frequent, and lengthier, deployments by the U.S. military. Many service members today are married, with or without children, and these deployments affect all members of the military family. A qualitative metasynthesis looked at the military family as a whole, showing the potential for heightened emotional responses for all family members throughout the deployment cycle, and especially in reintegration. The quantitative research study looked at parenting stress in Navy active duty fathers, while concurrently evaluating PTSD, depression, and deployment factors. The results showed that as deployment factors increased, parenting stress increased for fathers in the reintegration period, with a potential mediation effect of depression. This research study also evaluated spirituality and social support in both civilian mothers and active duty fathers who had experienced a recent Navy deployment. The results showed that spirituality and social support mitigated parenting stress: as spirituality and social support scores increased, parenting stress scores decreased significantly for both mothers and fathers. Also, spirituality was found to be a significant moderator of the relationship between deployment factors and parenting stress in Navy fathers. This dissertation research sheds light on the impact of deployment on Navy families, and suggests avenues for intervention and support with these families.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
deployment, military, U.S. Navy, family, parenting stress, spirituality, social support, PTSD, depression, active duty fathers
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