Military adolescents' experiences of change and discontinuity: Associations with psychosocial factors and school success
O'Neal, C. W., Peterson, C., & Mancini, J. A. (2022). Military adolescents' experiences of change and discontinuity: Associations with psychosocial factors and school success. Family Relations. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1111/fare.12740
Abstract Created by REACH:
Guided by the contextual model of family stress, this study investigated whether military stressors such as parental deployment and recent relocation affected military-connected adolescents’ psychosocial health (i.e., social support and depressive symptoms), and, in turn, their school success. A sample of 821 military-connected adolescents was used to investigate the direct and indirect relationships among parental deployment, recent relocation, social support, depressive symptoms, and school success (i.e., grades, school engagement, and homework commitment). The results varied depending on whether adolescents attended school on or off the military installation. For instance, while parental deployment and relocation were not implicated in school success for adolescents attending school on the installation, for those attending school off the installation, these stressors were related to school success through psychosocial health.
Branch of Service:
Child of a service member or veteran
Adolescence (13 - 17 yrs)
Childhood (birth - 12 yrs)
School age (6 - 12 yrs)
Young adulthood (18 - 29 yrs)
O'Neal, Catherine Walker, Peterson, Clairee, Mancini, Jay A.
Objective Drawing from the contextual model of family stress, social support and depressive symptoms were examined as two psychosocial factors that may link experiences of change and discontinuity common to military families to military adolescents' school success (i.e., academic achievement, school engagement, and homework commitment). Background Many military adolescents experience frequent changes that create discontinuity (e.g., parental deployments, relocations) and can impact their school success. Research has not examined psychosocial factors as a possible mechanism explaining the link between family change and discontinuity and adolescents' school success. Method A path model based on 821 military adolescents' responses examined how experiences of family discontinuity were associated with adolescents' psychosocial factors and, in turn, their school success after accounting for grade level, sex, and racial/ethnic minority status. Indirect effects between family discontinuity and school success were also evaluated. Results For adolescents attending public school off the military installation, parental deployment was significantly associated with less social support, and recent relocation was significantly associated with elevated depressive symptoms. Both psychosocial factors were associated with adolescents' academic achievement, school engagement, and homework commitment. Implications Prevention and intervention efforts directed at enhancing both social support and positive mental health are discussed at various systemic levels including families, schools, and communities.
Department of Human Development and Family Science, The University of Georgia, CWO
Department of Human Development and Family Science, The University of Georgia, CP
Department of Human Development and Family Science, The University of Georgia, JAM
discontinuity, academic achievement, homework, social support
REACH Publication Type:
This research was supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Award No. 2009-48680-06069 (principal investigator: Jay A. Mancini).