By Shelby Veri · Carolyne Muthoni · A. Suzanne Boyd · Margaret Wilmoth
Published 4 January 2021
There are more than half a million military Reserve Component (RC) connected children, but little research has examined the effects of parental deployment on this population. Much of what is known comes from active-duty families. This paper addresses the need to better understand the effects of RC parental deployment on children and families.
This scoping review identifies four significant gaps in understanding the impact of deployment on children whose parents are in one of the RC versus those with parents on active duty. These gaps highlight a paucity of research on a force that comprises nearly 50% of the Armed Forces. Increased funding is essential so that further study can occur to better understand children’s behaviors before deployment, during deployment, and at the time of reunification. Further research is needed to identify and develop interventions to address problems highlighted in the themes including, behavioral problems in children, child anxiety and fear, role changes for the non-deployed parents/children, and support networks. It is also essential to use mixed-method approaches to understand the implications of an operational RC force on families to inform policy and programming, which will, in turn, better support them during periods of prolonged active duty service and enhance recruitment retention.