Parents' Deployments Hit Kids Extra Hard

Broad study finds children of all ages more likely to struggle
By M. Morris,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2009 5:47 PM CST
Army National Guard soldier Sean Keough of Lowell, Mass., comforts daughter Katie, 9, during a farewell ceremony , July 14, 2007 in Boston. The soldiers were being deployed to Iraq.   (AP Photo/Lisa Poole)
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(Newser) – Kids whose parents are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan struggle with their emotions and responsibilities far more than children of civilians, a large new study reveals. Children of service members were twice as likely to report anxiety, emotional problems, and other symptoms of stress than their civilian counterparts. "Kids were reporting taking on more household responsibilities, such as taking care of siblings, and feeling like they were missing school activities," a researcher tells HealthDay News.

Children also picked up on the way stress was affecting the parent at home, usually the mom: "If the non-deployed parent was reporting more challenges, the kid was reporting more challenges," says the researcher. The study is based on interviews with kids under 18 who are members of 1,500 military families—significant because similar research in the past has concentrated on kids under 12 and used smaller samples, the Wall Street Journal notes.

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