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A Pilot Intervention to Increase Women's Coping Skills in Family Reintegration after Deployment in Combat Areas

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Final addendum 1 Jan 2014-31 Jan 2015

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Women are an integral part of U.S. active duty armed forces and National Guard units. Limited research distinguishes the effects of women and men s absence on family functioning during deployment and reintegration. The goal of this mixed methods study was to better understand post-deployment family reintegration experiences of women in the National Guard. The Phase 1 semi-structured interviews with 43 women from Midwestern National Guard units provided material for three manuscripts, one on the deployment experience for women, the second on the impact of deployment and reintegration on families and a third on specific reintegration experiences with children. Phase 2, an internet-delivered cross-sectional survey with 239 female National Guard members 164 deployed, 75 never deployed found deployed women had higher levels of PTSD p.001 and greater coping skills p.006 than those never deployed. Coping was a significant predictor of individual and family functioning measures. Phase 3 was a pilot intervention with eight women to access feasibility of an on-line support group for women who had been deployed. The intervention had high acceptability. While family needs are a critical part of the reintegration experience, health professionals should consider the behavioral health of female soldiers prior to or concurrently with addressing family issues. Additional work is needed to fully understand the specific contribution of gender in women s reintegration.

Subject Categories:

  • Psychology
  • Medicine and Medical Research
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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