Guard and Reserve Military Families Thesis

Pages: 19 (5196 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 10  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Military

¶ … guard and reserve military families face during and after deployment and an assessment of the effectiveness of resources provided

The present study will contain a literature review in Chapter Two which will provide the information sought after in this study. Chapter Three will provide information on the methodology of the present study while Chapter Four will relate the findings of the study. Finally, Chapter Five will draw conclusions and make recommendations. Service members and their spouse and other family members are impacted by specific factors that either negatively or positively impacts their experiences with deployment and which ultimately impact retention rates of service members in the U.S. armed forces. However, the factors that serve to impact these individuals have not been examined thoroughly and neither have the resources most utilized by these individuals been properly examined through study. It is critically important that information relating to service members and their families be disseminated specifically in the areas of factors impacting these individual's experiences with deployment and the resources utilized by service members and their families during deployment. Findings in this study conclude that while service members and their families are impacted by deployment that use of resources in the community, resources provided by the military, and resources in the form of family and organizational resources serves to lessen the impact of deployment on the family of service members and ultimately for the service members as well enabling them to better perform while on active duty. Arising from this study is a recommendation that the military conduct further study in order to identify the resources which are available to service members and their families during deployment of the service member to active duty.

AN EXAMINATION of the ISSUES GUARD and RESERVE MILITARY FAMILIES FACE DURING and AFTER DEPLOYMENT and an ASSESSMENT of the EFFECTIVENESS of RESOURCES PROVIDED

March 20, 2010

AN EXAMINATION of the ISSUES GUARD and RESERVE MILITARY FAMILIES FACE DURING and AFTER DEPLOYMENT and an ASSESSMENT of the EFFECTIVENESS of RESOURCES PROVIDED

CHAPTER ONE

Introduction

There are three stages of deployment through which a family goes when the service member leaves and these stages are stated to last "through the first month of the actual deployment. The first stage begins at the time that the family is notified that the service member will be deploying known as the pre-deployment stage which can last a few months or may be as little as 24 hours. The second stage involves grief and mourning "as the positive mindset leaves and reality sinks in. Depression becomes more typical and may last for weeks, while others feel a sense of relief, which can lead to guilt, as they move through stages of the process." (Cobb, 2009) During this time families are working in establishing new ways to communicate with one another and new routines causing them to feel overwhelmed as they attempt to support one another and provide comfort to one another. During this time, children of the family are in the most need of "a sense of security and predictability in their lives." (Cobb, 2009) the third stage referred to as sustainment "comes when a family finally accepts the deployment, becomes more positive and accustomed to the absence and establishes a new family routine." (Cobb, 2009) the fourth stage is stated to be inclusive of many different factors and is a stage in which the level of communication has a significant impact on the "intensity of emotions during the final parts of separation." (Cobb, 2009) the fifth stage is stated to be the final stage known as post-deployment and reunion" and is a stage characterized by unpredictability and a plethora of emotional reactions. Stated as normal stressors for the military family are:

(1) frequent moves around the country or world;

(2) frequent periods of separation due to deployments;

(3) knowledge of potential danger when family members enter hostile environments;

(4) low pay;

(5) geographic isolation; and (6) a statistically proven high incidence of young children in the home. (Cobb, 2009)

Normal stressors for the military family can include "…frequent moves around the country or world, frequent periods of separation due to deployments, knowledge of potential danger when family members enter hostile environments, low pay, geographic isolation, and a statistically proven high incidence of young children in the home for many families, these stressors could be handled easily; however, military families must often deal with more than one of these stressors at a time. (Cobb, 2009)

It is reported that it is quite common "for the family of a service member to act as a support system and seem strong in the face of adversity for the sake of the loved one. Family members often feel pressure to adapt and respond in ways that support the service member so that he or she will not fail to perform job requirements, experience low morale, or leave the military prior to completion of one's term. However, once there is a change in a situation, be it location, communication, or any other number of possibilities, it becomes more difficult for the family to keep up their act of strength. Children are often aware of the possibility of losing a parent due to injury or death, and they are constantly reminded of this fact through media coverage. All of these stressors combined lead to a heightened state of uncertainty and a lack of predictability and routine needed by so many." (Cobb, 2009) Also reported to be stressors during deployment of a service member are the following:

(1) mobility;

(2) transcultural experiences;

(3) frequent parental absence;

(4) changing family roles; and (5) Lack of structure and routine. (Cobb, 2009)

In fact, studies have shown "periods of heightened stress and impaired functioning during times of parental deployment." (Cobb, 2009) it is reported as well that while children of active duty soldiers are more accustomed to the changes associated with deployment including frequent absences the children of reservists are "not always as accustomed to the changes and have a harder time coping. Children who are not accustomed to such changes often lose their sense of security without daily involvement and support from their parent." (Cobb, 2009) Research has shown that deployment of a family member and the associated changes can "…negatively influence a child's emotions, academics, and behaviors. The ability to adjust to the drastic changes that come from deployment tends to depend on the length of the deployment, the type of deployment, and the ability of the remaining parent to cope with the situation." (Cobb, 2009)

Background and Organization of Study

The present study will contain a literature review in Chapter Two which will provide the information sought after in this study. Chapter Three will provide information on the methodology of the present study while Chapter Four will relate the findings of the study. Finally, Chapter Five will draw conclusions and make recommendations.

Statement of Problem

Service members and their spouse and other family members are impacted by specific factors that either negatively or positively impacts their experiences with deployment and which ultimately impact retention rates of service members in the U.S. armed forces. However, the factors that serve to impact these individuals have not been examined thoroughly and neither have the resources most utilized by these individuals been properly examined through study.

Significance of the Study

It is critically important that information relating to service members and their families be disseminated specifically in the areas of factors impacting these individuals' experiences with deployment and the resources utilized by service members and their families during deployment.

Assumptions & Limitations

The limitations of this study include limitations due to time restrictions. Assumptions of this study include the assumption that the information reviewed in this study is material synthesized from other studies that is properly researched and reported in other various studies.

CHAPTER TWO

Literature Review

Since the first Gulf War, it is reported that the Department of Defense has "increasingly used the National Guard and Reserves. This reliance, which includes more frequent activation and overseas deployments, may put enormous strain on reserve component (RC) families. Existing research on how deployments affect military families has focused almost exclusively on the active component (AC). But demographic differences between AC and RC families suggest that the latter may face different issues during deployment and, thus, require different support. Further, because RC families are more geographically dispersed, many are distant from military family resources." (Rand National Defense Research Institute, 2009)

The Rand study examined RCD family's experiences during activation and deployment as well as studying their use of family support resources and conducted an assessment of "how their experiences may influence retention intentions." (Rand National Defense Research Institute, 2009) the stated focus of this study was on the families of enlisted personnel and officers serving in the Army Reserve, and Marine Forces Reserve." (Rand National Defense Research Institute, 2009) This study is stated to feature interviews conducted with spouses of service members and service members from 653 families that have experienced at least… [END OF PREVIEW]

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