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Military-connected children with special health care needs and their families: A literature review

APA Citation:

Hill, A. Toni, & Blue-Banning, M. (2023). Military-connected children with special health care needs and their families: A literature review. Armed Forces & Society. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1177/0095327X231197992

Abstract Created by REACH:

The common military experience of frequent relocation may be particularly stressful for families whose children have chronic conditions that require health or support services. This literature review synthesized information across 74 sources, published between 2001 and 2021, about the experiences of military families with children who have special healthcare needs. In general, the themes highlighted a lack of coordinated and consistent care over time across education, healthcare, and family support domains. The review also identified gaps in the literature.



Branch of Service:

Multiple branches

Military Affiliation:

Active Duty

Subject Affiliation:

Military families
Child of a service member or veteran


School age (6 - 12 yrs)
Adolescence (13 - 17 yrs)


Review of Literature


Hill, Antoinette “Toni”, Blue-Banning, Martha


Since 2001, armed conflicts have required extraordinary sacrifices by U.S. military service members and their families. Literature on the impact of the military lifestyle between 2001 and 2021 suggests frequent relocation and deployment have consequences for children. Limited research on the subpopulation of children and youth with special health care needs contains evidence these military families face complex issues, amplifying stressors of military life. The results of this review identified challenges in continuity of care in education, health care, and family support resulting from frequent relocations, plus notable gaps in research. These findings are important because of their potential impact on military readiness, recruitment, and retention. This review appears to be the only peer-reviewed systematic literature review on military-connected children with special health care needs and their families.

Publication Type:

REACH Publication


special health care needs, military-connected children

View Research Summary:

REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary

REACH Newsletter:

  January 2024

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