Adjustments among Adolescent

Posted on November 10, 2013, in Separation and Loss

This report summarizes the findings of a study supported by the Military Family Research Institute and the DOD Quality of Life Office that focused on the adaptations of adolescents in military families when a parent is deployed. Qualitative methods were used through focus groups conducted with youth attending camps in the summer of 2004. The research was implemented by Drs. Angela J. Huebner and Jay A. Mancini, of the Department of Human Development at Virginia Tech.

Because there are few systematic studies of adolescents in military families, the present study marks what we hope will be the beginning of an important line of inquiry. The findings presented in this report should confirm observations made by professionals who work with military adolescents and provide a context for exploring new ways to support adolescents who have a deployed parent.

The findings have general applicability to program development, whether the focus is on the provision of services or on curriculum development. Findings can serve as catalysts for discussions among youth development professionals, both inside and outside the military family support systems.

The Executive Summary of the report contains major findings themes and implications for program professionals as they support families and adolescents.

In addition to the Executive Summary, this report is divided into three major sections: (1) Study context and conceptual framework; (2) Study findings on adolescent adaptation; and (3) Study findings on adolescent support networks. Within these interrelated and overlapping sections on study findings are multiple sub-sections on major themes in the research; each of these includes a summary of results, direct quotes from focus group participants, and implications. Appendix A contains the focus group protocol and interview questions.

This document is a final, descriptive report and represents the conclusion of the funded project. Additional analyses will be presented through presentations at professional meetings (for example, see Huebner, Mancini, Wilcox, Grass, & Grass, 2005), and through publications in peer-reviewed periodicals and book chapters. These future analyses will complement recent research by Huebner and Mancini on adolescent adaptation among youth in civilian families (Huebner & Mancini, 2003; Mancini & Huebner, 2004).

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