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Family life education for military families: An exploratory study of family program use

APA Citation:

Peterson, C. T., & O’Neal, C. W. (2023). Family life education for military families: An exploratory study of family program use. Military Behavioral Health, 11(1-2), 78-88. https://doi.org/10.1080/21635781.2023.2221466

Abstract Created by REACH:

This study examined military families’ use of installation-sponsored deployment/ reintegration and financial programs and whether program use was related to Soldiers’ and their spouses’ well-being (e.g., financial well-being, anxiety). The study also considered demographic and military-contextual characteristics. Data were collected from 266 families with an active-duty Soldier and, in most cases, a civilian spouse. Soldiers reported their family’s history of program use and demographic and military-contextual characteristics (e.g., rank, number of deployments). Both partners self-reported indicators of well-being, their perception of program helpfulness, and their education level. 44% of families had used a deployment/reintegration program; 27% had used a financial program. There were minimal differences in well-being between those who used the programs and those who did not.



Branch of Service:


Military Affiliation:

Active Duty

Subject Affiliation:

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


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


Secondary Analysis
Cross sectional study


Peterson, Clairee T., O’Neal, Catherine Walker


Recognizing the stressors that military families may face, the military offers educational programs to support families, including deployment/reintegration programs and financial programs. However, little research examines these commonly offered programs. Grounded in the Contextual Model of Family Stress (CMFS), this study addresses this gap, conceptualizing program use as a resource that may be impacted by families’ external contexts (i.e., demographic and military contextual characteristics) and associated with various indicators of well-being. This study was a secondary data analysis of cross-sectional data from 266 military families at one Army installation. A logistic regression path model was used to examine if the likelihood of program use varied by demographic and military contextual characteristics (e.g., number of deployments, PCS moves), and independent samples t-tests were conducted to assess mean differences in elements of military families’ well-being (e.g., financial well-being, anxiety). Demographic and military contextual characteristics (e.g., number of deployments and PCS moves) were associated with program use. Families that used financial programs had SMs with lower financial well-being and civilian spouses with marginally higher anxiety. The results indicate that programs providing standardized yet personalized content may be helpful for families, as well as suggest important directions for future research.

Publication Type:

REACH Publication


family life education, demographic characteristics, deployment programs, financial programs, financial well-being, mental well-being, military contextual characteristics, Military programming, reintegration programs, social well-being

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REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary

REACH Newsletter:

  August 2023

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