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Resilient parents…resilient communities: A pilot study trialing the Bounce Back and Thrive! Resilience-training program with military families

APA Citation:

Mikolas, C., Pike, A., Jones, C., Smith-MacDonald, L., Lee, M., Winfield, H., Griffiths, J., Perry, R., Olson, D. M., Heber, A., Olson, J., Sevigny, P. R., & Brémault-Philips, S. (2021). Resilient parents…resilient communities: A pilot study trialing the Bounce Back and Thrive! Resilience-training program with military families. Frontiers in Psychology, 12, 2988. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.651522

Abstract Created by REACH:

Bounce Back and Thrive! (BBT) is an in-person training program focused on building parents’ resilience skills so that parents can model these skills for their children. This study trialed 6-session and 3-session formats of BBT for Canadian military parents (i.e., spouses of Service members/Veterans, Service members, or Veterans) with at least 1 child under 8 years old. 9 participants provided qualitative data through focus groups, in which 4 themes capturing the experiences of military parents participating in BBT were identified.


Mental health

Branch of Service:

International Military

Military Affiliation:

Active Duty

Subject Affiliation:

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


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


Qualitative Study
Cross sectional study


Mikolas, Cynthia, Pike, Ashley, Jones, Chelsea, Smith-MacDonald, Lorraine, Lee, Melina, Winfield, Hope, Griffiths, Jennifer, Perry, Ryan, Olson, David M., Heber, Alexandra, Olson, Joanne, Sevigny, Phillip R., Brémault-Philips, Suzette


IntroductionThe resilience of Canadian military families (CMFs) – the main support of the Canadian Armed Forces service members (SMs) – is imperative. The Canadian Armed Forces aims to ensure that SMs and their families are resilient and SMs ready to respond when called upon for combat, peacekeeping or pandemic/disaster-response. Family concerns, however, can realistically distract SMs from the mission, potentially compromising themselves, their unit and the mission. Resilience-training programs such as Bounce Back and Thrive! (BBT) can help families manage the realities of military life.ObjectiveThis pilot study aimed to evaluate suitability of BBT implementation by Military Family Resource Centers (MFRCs), including whether BBT: (1) fosters resilience-building among parents, (2) facilitates CMF resilience-building, (3) can be contextualized for CMFs, and (4) supports MFRCs in cultivating a culture of resilience.MethodsAn exploratory qualitative design was used. BBT was offered to parents face-to-face. Participants completed focus groups after the first 6 sessions, final 4 sessions, and one-year post-intervention. Data was thematically analyzed.ResultsNine military parents participated. Four major themes resulted: (1) military parent resilience-building, (2) CMF resilience-building, (3) BBT program feedback and contextualization, and (4) MFRCs as community resilience hubs.DiscussionBBT enabled parents to gain a new perspective on resilience, engage in dialogue and intentionally role model resilience skills. Military-specific BBT contextualization and online-delivery formats would increase suitability and access for CMFs. Access to resilience programs delivered through MFRCs would support CMFs. Further research is warranted.

Publication Type:

REACH Publication


Canadian Armed Forces, military families programming, resilience

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REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary

REACH Newsletter:

  December 2022

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