Associations of combat exposure and parental locus of control in deployed mothers and fathers
Darawshy, N. A., Gewirtz, A. H., Cheng, C. H., & Piehler, T. (2022). Associations of combat exposure and parental locus of control in deployed mothers and fathers. Family Relations. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1111/fare.12725
Abstract Created by REACH:
Guided by the military family stress model, this study examined the associations among combat exposure (e.g., going on combat patrol), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, and parental locus of control (i.e., self-perceptions of internal parental control, responsibility, and efficacy) in Service members/Veterans (SM/Vs). The study also examined whether these associations differed between mothers and fathers. Self-reported data were from 538 SM/V parents (n = 117 mothers; n = 421 fathers) with at least one child aged 4–12 years. Parents had participated in a version of the After Deployment Adaptive Parenting Tools (ADAPT) program, a parenting program for military families postdeployment. Overall, PTSD symptoms partially explained the relationship between combat exposure and parental locus of control. This association did not differ between mothers and fathers.
Branch of Service:
Active duty service member
Spouse of service member or veteran
Young adulthood (18 - 29 yrs)
Adulthood (18 yrs & older)
Thirties (30 - 39 yrs)
Middle age (40 - 64 yrs)
Cross sectional study
Darawshy, Neveen Ali-Saleh, Gewirtz, Abigail H., Cheng, Cheuk H., Piehler, Timothy
Objective Relying upon the military family stress model, we evaluated the associations between combat exposure, PTSD symptoms, and parental locus of control (PLOC) among mothers and fathers with history of deployment, using a multigroup analysis. Background Few studies have investigated the correlates of deployment-related stressors for deployed mothers and none have examined perceptions of parenting efficacy. The relationship between combat exposure and PTSD symptoms may differ by gender. Method The sample (421 fathers and 117 mothers) was selected by combining baseline data from two distinct randomized controlled trials of a parenting program for post-deployed military families: ADAPT and ADAPT 4 U (Gewirtz et al., 2018a). Results Our analyses revealed a significant indirect effect of PTSD symptoms between combat exposure and PLOC, among deployed parents, with no gender differences in the indirect effect. Conclusion Relationships between combat exposure, PTSD symptoms, and PLOC support a military family stress model, and highlight the need to support parents with PTSD symptoms because PTSD symptoms appear to be a mechanism through which combat exposure affects parenting beliefs and perceptions. Implications Prevention and intervention research should focus on how parenting programs might help to reduce PTSD symptoms and improve parental perceptions of efficacy, confidence, and control.
The Louis and Gabi Weisfeld School of Social Work, Bar-Ilan University, NAD
Department of Psychology and REACH Institute, Arizona State University, AHG
Department of Family Social Science, University of Minnesota–Twin Cities, CHC
Department of Family Social Science, University of Minnesota–Twin Cities, TP
military family stress model, PTSD, combat exposure
REACH Publication Type:
The ADAPT study was funded by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, grant no. DA030114 to Abigail Gewirtz. The ADAPT4U study was funded by the Department of Defense; grant no. W81XWH-1-14-0143 (PI: Gewirtz).