Military kids struggle when parents are deployed, new study finds


By Rita Colorito


We know all about the mental health dangers facing troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. But children suffer, too, when their parents are deployed.

A nationwide retrospective study of more than 640,000 children age 3 to 8 found that mental and behavioral health visits increased 11 percent in children when a military parent deployed; behavioral disorders increased 19 percent and stress disorders 18 percent.

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Rates for these disorders especially increased in older children and children with military fathers and of married military parents. More than 2 million U.S. children have been affected directly by a parent's military deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan, with 40 percent of these children younger than 5 years old, finds the report by the Department of Pediatrics Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md.


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