(334) 844-3299
Detailed Record
Share this Article

A qualitative study of military connected parents’ perceptions on establishing and maintaining child behavioral health services

APA Citation:

Benson, J. L., Phillips, S., Perkins-Parks, S., & Crockett, J. (2023). A qualitative study of military connected parents’ perceptions on establishing and maintaining child behavioral health services. Military Behavioral Health. 11(4), 189-198. https://doi.org/10.1080/21635781.2023.2221474

Abstract Created by REACH:

This qualitative study examined the unique experiences of military parents who sought treatment for their child’s behavioral or emotional challenges. 22 parents were interviewed about the barriers they faced to accessing treatment for their child and the strategies they used to overcome these barriers. 3 overarching topics were identified through thematic analysis. Overall, while frequent relocation presented challenges for families seeking to establish and maintain behavioral health treatment, parents reported using their advocacy skills to access treatment for their child.


Mental health

Branch of Service:

Multiple branches

Military Affiliation:

Active Duty

Subject Affiliation:

Child of a service member or veteran
Active duty service member
Military families


Adulthood (18 yrs & older)
Young adulthood (18 - 29 yrs)
Thirties (30 - 39 yrs)
Middle age (40 - 64 yrs)
Childhood (birth - 12 yrs)
School age (6 - 12 yrs)
Adolescence (13 - 17 yrs)


Qualitative Study


Benson, Jaime L., Phillips, Sharon, Perkins-Parks, Susan, Crockett, Jennifer


Few studies have examined U.S. military parents’ perspectives in establishing, maintaining, and reestablishing child behavioral health services within the context of military life. This qualitative study focused on the experiences of military-connected parents raising children who were receiving non-psychiatric outpatient behavioral health services for a range of behavioral or emotional challenges. The purposes of the qualitative study were to understand parents’ perspectives on the unique challenges military families face while seeking treatment and to understand facilitators or barriers to treatment. Twenty-two parents across the branches of the U.S. military participated in semi-structured interviews. Data were analyzed using a grounded theory approach. Primary themes identified were difficulties reestablishing social and healthcare support networks when moving. When accessing behavioral health services, stigma, difficulty obtaining referrals, and family logistics were noted barriers. Facilitators included parental advocacy on behalf of their child and primary care providers providing quick referrals to specialized behavioral health services.

Publication Type:

REACH Publication


behavioral health, child mental health, healthcare, military, military family, military-connected, parenting, qualitative, therapy, treatment barriers

View Research Summary:

REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary

REACH Newsletter:

  September 2023

This website uses cookies to improve the browsing experience of our users. Please review Auburn University’s Privacy Statement for more information. Accept & Close