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Wars' toll on military kids

Children of troops deployed in Afghanistan or Iraq are more likely than other kids to suffer from anxiety when a parent is away and even after the parent returns home, according to new research.

Patricia Lester of UCLA and her colleagues studied 171 families from the Army's Fort Lewis and the Marines' Camp Pendleton in which the mother or the father was on active duty in Iraq or Afghanistan. About one-third of the children in these families had increased levels of anxiety, the researchers report in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. But more surprisingly, the anxiety tended to persist even after the parent returned home, the researchers found.

The researchers also found an interesting gender difference in how the anxiety manifested itself: Girls were more likely to act out and exhibit disruptive behavior when the parent was deployed. The problems with boys tended to show up after the deployed parent returned home.

The researchers say the findings are important because more military personnel tend to have families than in the past. They hope the findings will help officials design better programs to help parents and their children cope with the emotional effects of military service.

By Rob Stein  |  April 14, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Mental Health  
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Comments

This is an important finding with implications especially for parents and those of us who treat military (and veterans') families. One suggestion though, you may want to double check the article to determine which Ft. Lewis was involved in the study. The most likely one is Ft. Lewis, which is located outside Tacoma, WA.

Posted by: SMBerkowitz | April 14, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Well, what are we supposed to do -- not station our troops in 130 nations around the world?? Or stop spending as much on our military as the rest of the world combined?

We'll bring peace to this planet even if we have to occupy every last nation to do it.

/sarcasm alert

Posted by: fallschurch1 | April 16, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

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