(334) 844-3299
Detailed Record
Share this Article

A two-front war: Exploring military families' battle with parental deployment

APA Citation:

Mulholland, E., Dahlberg, D., & McDowell, L. (2020). A two-front war: Exploring military families’ battle with parental deployment. Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 54, 34-41. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pedn.2020.05.019

Abstract Created by REACH:

Using a sample of couples who were parents and where one spouse was a Service member (herein referred to as military parents; N=15), this study investigated parenting techniques used to help children cope with deployment and reintegration. Military parents completed online, open-ended survey questions, and researchers then identified themes describing common coping techniques. Although it was common for military children to experience mental health and behavioral issues (e.g., emotional difficulties, attention seeking) during both deployment and reintegration, military families demonstrated resilience via the coping strategies they developed (e.g., communication, maintaining routines).


Mental health

Branch of Service:

Air Force

Military Affiliation:

Active Duty

Subject Affiliation:

Spouse of service member or veteran


Adulthood (18 yrs & older)
Young adulthood (18 - 29 yrs)
Thirties (30 - 39 yrs)
Middle age (40 - 64 yrs)


Cross-Sectional Study
Qualitative Study


Mulholland, Emily, Dahlberg, Dori, McDowell, Liz


Purpose The purpose of this study was to identify ways parents comfort their children to help them cope and adapt to the stresses of the deployment of a mother or father in military service, as well as the reintegration process of the parent returning home. Design and methods This qualitative study used a hermeneutic phenomenological approach to better understand the lived experiences of these families and strategies used to combat stressors of deployment and post-deployment. Using purposive and snowball sampling for recruitment, participants completed an online anonymous survey that consisted of demographic and open-ended questions. A study sample of 15 participants (n = 15) was selected based on inclusion and exclusion criteria. Using an interpretive framework for data analysis, six themes emerged from the survey. Results Six themes emerged from the data including the value of family communication, the importance of maintaining a routine, the occurrence of behavioral issues and emotional distress in children, the use of creative coping strategies, the need for parental self-care, and the resilience of the military families. Conclusion There are unique challenges for military families during and after deployment that can be mitigated with identified strategies. Implications for practice Incorporation of the study's findings into nursing practice will enhance patient education and anticipatory guidance for military families with children experiencing or planning for a parental deployment.

Publisher/Sponsoring Organization:


Publication Type:

REACH Publication

Author Affiliation:

William Preston Turner School of Nursing Lander University, EM
William Preston Turner School of Nursing Lander University, DD
William Preston Turner School of Nursing Lander University, LM


deployment, military family, military children, reintegration, coping strategies

View Research Summary:

REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary

REACH Newsletter:

  January 2021

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