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How Military Families Respond Before, During and After Deployment: Findings from the RAND Deployment Life Study

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Technical Report

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RAND Arroyo Center Santa Monica United States

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The Deployment Life Study DLSa first-of-its-kind longitudinal studywas designed to assess the impact of deployment on military families and to help the Department of Defense, policymakers, and service providers better prepare these families for a deployment. The DLS surveyed more than 2,700 married military families from all branches i.e., Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps and components active, reserve, and Guard of the military. Up to three familymembersthe service member, the spouse, and a child age 1118 if availablewere surveyed every four months for three years. While deployment policies regarding length of each deployment vary across services, our study allowed us to define a study deployment for each family individually and monitor them across their own deployment-related experience. The DLS evaluated key outcomes, including the quality of marital and parental relationships psychological, behavioral,and physical health of family members child well-being and military integration or attitudes toward military service. Conducted from 2011 to 2015, the DLS allowed researchers to examine family functioning and individual well-being before, during, and after deployment. The analysis was designed to answer three questions, and our findings are detailed below.

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