Kids of Combat Veterans, More Prone To Violence

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Children of parents who have been deployed in the military are twice more likely to carry a weapon, be involved in fights and join violent gangs. This is according to a recent study led by Sarah Reed which focused on researching into military families in the state of Washington. The study also included their daughters. According to Sarah Reed, “This study raises serious concerns about an under-recognized consequence of war.”

Last year, about 2 million US children have at least one of their parents serving the military. In a variety of ways, their deployment to military warzones and services can be very hurtful and damaging to a family. While the parent is staying overseas, danger lurks around him or her and the remaining parent left at home is burdened with the responsibility to take care of children, often shifting his or her roles as a parent. Upon the return of the deployed parents, challenges may also arise due to the physical and psychological damages and harms that they may have experienced in their job.

This topic has become an emerging field in research and the new study has been focused on the kids of those affected by deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. The study is a unique undertaking since it looked into a statewide population and compared the children of military families, against those kids where the military service does not run in the blood.

The said study which will be presented on Monday during a public health conference in Washington, D.C, was carried out using a 2008 questionnaire which involved about 10,000 students in their 8th, 10th and 12th grades in Washington schools. Washington became the local of the study in that houses a lot of militaries in their active duty, making it the sixth largest active in the country.

About 550 of the children who were surveyed said that they had at least one parent deployed in a war zone over the past six years. The researchers also factored in the differences which might skew the results, i.e. educational background, etc.

After considering the factors which may lead to differences, the researchers found out that high school-age daughters whose parents have been deployed are nearly thrice as more likely than non-military parent girls to be involved in a gang or join gang fights. They were also twice as much likely to carry weapons to school. Among boys, similar trends were also noticeable, as compared to those with civilian parents.

This research may be a wake-up call for many health organizations and professionals who deal with military families. “Maybe if we make assumptions about children, we may overlook other ways they may be suffering,” said Dr. Gregory Gorman, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md.

On the other hand, lead author of the research Sarah Reed also mentioned that further studies may need to be conducted with larger scale population as it may be able to yield lower results.





  1. Catherine Smith says:

    Where can I access Dr. Reeds research and article? Which University is she associated with?

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