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The relationship between parent–soldier communication and postdeployment soldier mental health

APA Citation:

Farero, A. M., Blow, A., Bowles, R., Gorman, L., Kees, M., & Guty, D. (2019). The relationship between parent–Soldier communication and postdeployment Soldier mental health. Military Behavioral Health, 7(3), 336-344. https://doi.org/10.1080/21635781.2018.1550026

Abstract Created by REACH:

Positive family relationships can serve as a valuable resource in navigating deployment and reintegration. This study investigated communication between National Guard (NG) Soldiers and their parent(s) and their relationship quality (i.e., how Soldiers describe their relationship with their mother and father) to identify associations with Soldiers’ post-deployment mental health at reintegration and one year post-deployment. Frequent communication in the context of a close parent-Soldier relationship prior to deployment was indirectly associated with better mental health outcomes post-deployment through relationship quality. Results showed that Soldier-parent communication was associated with relationship quality, which in turn was related to Soldier mental health.


Mental health

Branch of Service:


Subject Affiliation:

Guard/Reserve member


Adulthood (18 yrs & older)
Young adulthood (18 - 29 yrs)
Thirties (30 - 39 yrs)


Longitudinal Study
Quantitative Study


Farero, Adam, Blow, Adrian, Bowles, Ryan, Gorman, Lisa, Kees, Michelle, Guty, Danielle


National Guard members experience significant challenges surrounding deployment and reintegration. The supportive role of the relationship with a parent through the deployment cycle merits exploration. This longitudinal study of National Guard soldiers examined the relationship between soldier communication with one or more of their parents predeployment and mental health outcomes at reintegration and one year postdeployment. A stronger predeployment parent–soldier relationship is associated with good mental health outcomes at reintegration, and one year later. Additionally, communicating more frequently with a parent predeployment is indirectly associated with improved mental health outcomes, as long as the parent–soldier relationship is positive.

Publisher/Sponsoring Organization:

Taylor & Francis

Publication Type:

REACH Publication

Author Affiliation:

Michigan State University, AMF
Michigan State University, AB
Michigan State University, RB
Michigan Public Health Institute, LG
University of Michigan, MK
Michigan Public Health Institute, DG


military families, parent, communication

View Research Summary:

REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary


United States Department of Defense, Military Operational Medicine Research Program
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, Psychological Health/Traumatic Brain Injury Research Program, Award number: W81XWH-12-1-0419 and 0418

REACH Newsletter:

  June 2019

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