Date of Conferral







Stephen Rice


Military wartime deployment of parents has a powerful and potentially damaging impact on their young children. As tours lengthen and deployments of military parents become more frequent, the possible negative effects on the children increase proportionally. This quantitative, comparative study evaluated internalizing symptoms among 220 young children who had a parent currently on military deployment and a parent who returned from military deployment compared to a control group of same age peers whose parents were nonmilitary. Using the theoretical frameworks of attachment theory and ambiguous loss theory, the study investigated 3 internalizing symptoms: Anxiety/Depressed, Withdrawn/Depressed behaviors, and Somatic Complaints among these children in 3 large public school districts in southern California using The Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist for Ages 6 to18 Teacher's Report Form (TRF). There is little information about the effects of these factors on younger children; therefore, this study specifically focused on children in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades. A multivariate analysis of variance analysis revealed significant differences in mean scores of anxiety, withdrawn behaviors, and somatic complaints among young children with a parent on active military wartime deployment and children whose parent returned from military wartime deployment within 1 to 6 months in comparison to young children whose parents are nonmilitary. The study added to positive social change through educators' increased awareness of the unique emotional symptomatologies among military children. Educators will be able to recognize and provide interventions to address these children's emotional needs during and after military wartime deployment.