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The impact of military fathers’ mental health on the well-being of their children postdeployment: Findings from national guard fathers

APA Citation:

Farero, A. M., Kammes, R., Blow, A., Johnson, T., Kees, M., Ufer, L. G., & Guty, D. (2020). The impact of military fathers’ mental health on the well-being of their children postdeployment: Findings from National Guard fathers. Military Behavioral Health, 8(2), 159-170. https://doi.org/10.1080/21635781.2019.1644262

Abstract Created by REACH:

This study examined the associations between National Guard fathers’ mental health (i.e., posttraumatic stress disorder [PTSD] and depressive symptomology) and their children’s behavioral difficulties (e.g., conduct problems, issues with peers, hyperactivity, and excessive clinginess). Data were collected from 208 National Guard Soldiers both during the reintegration phase (3-6 months after deployment; n = 191) and approximately two years postdeployment (n = 139; some Soldiers participated at both time points). Soldiers reported on their mental health, and both Soldiers and their female partners reported on child behavior. The results suggest that, during reintegration, fathers’ depressive symptoms were associated with more child behavior problems, but, at postdeployment, fathers’ PTSD symptoms were associated with more child behavior problems.


Mental health

Branch of Service:


Military Affiliation:


Subject Affiliation:

Guard/Reserve member
Military families
Spouse of service member or veteran


Childhood (birth - 12 yrs)
Preschool age (2 -5 yrs)
School age (6 - 12 yrs)
Adolescence (13 - 17 yrs)
Adulthood (18 yrs & older)
Young adulthood (18 - 29 yrs)
Thirties (30 - 39 yrs)
Middle age (40 - 64 yrs)
Aged (65 yrs & older)


Cross-Sectional Study
Quantitative Study
Secondary Analysis


Farero, Adam M., Kammes, Rebecca, Blow, Adrian, Johnson, Travis, Kees, Michelle, Ufer, Lisa Gorman, Guty, Danielle


Deployment and reintegration can be a source of significant stress for military service members and their families. In particular, military fathers’ mental health can have a significant impact on their children’s well-being. To examine this phenomenon during the postdeployment period, this study sampled 208 National Guard fathers and their partners. We specifically examined the link between fathers’ mental health symptoms (depression and PTSD) and children’s behavioral difficulties (as reported by the service member and their partner) at reintegration and 2 years postdeployment. Results indicate that higher levels of soldier depression at reintegration were associated with worse child behavioral outcomes. In addition, higher levels of soldier PTSD were linked with more child behavioral difficulties at 2 years postdeployment. Clinical implications of these findings are discussed.

Publisher/Sponsoring Organization:

Taylor & Francis

Publication Type:

REACH Publication

Author Affiliation:

Michigan State University, AMF
Michigan State University, RK
Michigan State Univarsity, AB
Michigan State University, TJ
University of Michigan, MK
Michigan Public Health Institute, LGU
Michigan Public Health Institute, DG


military, National Guard, deployment, families and children, parenthood, posttraumatic stress disorder, depression

View Research Summary:

REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary


Psychological Health/Traumatic Brain Injury ResearchThis work was supported by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs through the Psychological Health/Traumatic Brain Injury Research Program under Award No. W81XWH-12-1-0419 and 0418 (Blow, PI; Gorman, Partnering PI).

REACH Newsletter:

  October 2020

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