Journal article Open Access

Military Families and Children During Operation Iraqi Freedom

Cozza, Stephen J.; Chun, Ryo S.; Polo, James A.

The general public has become increasingly interested in the health and well being of the children and families of military service members as the war in Iraq continues. Observers recognize the potential stresses or traumas that this population might undergo as a result of the military deployment or the possible injury or death of military family members. While such concern is welcomed, it is sometimes misplaced. Not infrequently, conclusions that are drawn are fraught with misunderstanding and bias based upon lack of understanding of the military community or a preconceived notion of the vulnerabilities of the population. This problem is compounded by the paucity of scientific study. In this article the authors review the strengths of military families as well as the unique challenges that they face. The authors also highlight parental deployment, parental injury and parental death as unique stresses to military children and families. Available and pertinent scientific information is reviewed. Clinical observations of children and families during the ongoing war in Iraq are presented.

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