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“A fear like I've never felt”: Experiences of parents whose adult children deployed to combat zones

APA Citation:

Crow, J. R., & Myers-Bowman, K. S. (2011). “A fear like I’ve never felt”: Experiences of parents whose adult children deployed to combat zones. Marriage & Family Review, 47(3), 164–195. doi:10.1080/01494929.2011.577660


Mental health

Branch of Service:

Multiple branches

Military Affiliation:

Active Duty

Subject Affiliation:

Parent of a service member or veteran


Adulthood (18 yrs & older)
Young adulthood (18 - 29 yrs)
Thirties (30 - 39 yrs)
Middle age (40 - 64 yrs)
Aged (65 yrs & older)


Empirical Study
Qualitative Study


Crow, Janet R., Myers-Bowman, Karen S.


Despite the increase of research with military families, less is known about the experiences of those parents who have adult children deployed overseas for military operations. This article presents parents’ experiences of having adult children deployed to combat zones. Qualitative data were gathered through an Internet-based survey during 2010. Analyses revealed important themes within the parents’ portrayals expressing strong reactions of fear, worry and concern for their children’s safety and well being throughout their experiences. Parents also described frustrations communicating with their deployed children. Support from formal and informal sources was important to their coping, as was assistance from religious and military organizations. Finally, parents reported varied impacts of the adult children’s deployment on the parents’ marriages. Implications for future military family research and family life education are provided.

Publisher/Sponsoring Organization:

Taylor & Francis

Publication Type:


Author Affiliation:

Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, Baylor University, JRC
School of Family Studies and Human Services, Kansas State University, KSMB


experiences, adult children, military deployment, combat zones, fear, parents

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