June 20, 2021

Supporting Military Parents During Deployment

Father's Day 2021

Deployment is difficult for military families, especially those with children. As one parent takes on both parenting roles in the absence of the other parent, coping with not having a partner for a long stretch of time can leave negative impacts.

In a Geneva-managed study funded by the TriService Nursing Research Program (TSNRP) and titled “Family Analysis of Parenting Stress, Mental Health, and Spirituality in a Navy Cohort,” Geneva Principal Investigator and Navy Captain (CAPT) Abigail Marter Yablonsky, PhD, NP-C, wants to understand how deployment stress can affect mothers’ and father’s parenting stress in different ways using the thirteen subscales within the Parenting Stress Index (PSI).

CAPT Yablonsky is a nurse researcher, previously stationed at the Naval Health Research Center – San Diego. By performing a secondary analysis on data previously collected from 82 military family dyads, she is focusing on identifying predictors of parenting stress, as well as on how one parent’s stress affects the other, and is examining how these results may interrelate with parental mental health outcomes.

The long-term goal of this research is to be able to develop innovative and targeted behavioral interventions to promote healthy parenting in military families dealing with the unique stressors of deployment. This could reveal potential areas for intervention in families experiencing the process of deployment.

“Supportive interventions may need to take different forms for the service member and for the spouse,” said CAPT Yablonsky. “For example, if a father’s high stress emanates from a self-perception of himself as incompetent as a father, but a mother’s high stress comes from her perceptions of her child as highly distractible and hyperactive, targeted interventions for fathers and mothers will differ based on these findings.”

She added, “If nurse clinicians understand the influence of deployment experiences on stressors within the family dynamic, this gives military nurses an opportunity to intervene early to prevent both psychological and physical harm to the military family.”


Disclaimer: The views expressed do not reflect the official policy of the Navy, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.