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Parenting Styles of Military and Civilian Families: The Impact of Deployment, Mood, and Marital Satisfaction

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Technical Report

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Uniformed Services University Of The Health Sciences Bethesda United States

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This study compared military and civilian parenting styles on the dimensions of nurturance and restrictiveness. It also examined the relationship between deployment, anxiety, depression, and marital satisfaction and military parenting styles. Participants were 114 military mothers, 202 civilian mothers, 65 military fathers, and 32 civilian fathers of children 12-18 years old. The Modified Child Rearing Practices Report CRPR was used to measure parenting, the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale DASS was used to measure anxiety and depression, and the Couples Satisfaction Index was used to measure marital satisfaction. The military mothers were significantly younger, had lived in their current location less time, had been married fewer years, had moved more frequently, were less educated, had more children, and had lower household income than the civilian participants. Independent sample t-tests indicated that military mothers are significantly more restrictive than civilian mothers. Civilian mothers had significantly higher levels of nurturance. The military mothers reported using a mostly authoritarian parenting style while the civilian mothers reported using a mostly permissive parenting style. No relationship was found between deployment and parenting style. Deployment was not related to anxiety, depression, or marital satisfaction for the military mothers. There was no relationship between parenting style and anxiety, depression, or marital satisfaction in the military mother respondents but anxiety, depression and marital satisfaction were related to parenting style in the civilian mother sample. Implications and future directions in this area are discussed.

Subject Categories:

  • Sociology and Law
  • Psychology
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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