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ODU's Kelley Quoted on CNN About Teens in Military Families

Michelle Kelley, the Old Dominion University professor of psychology whose research examines how parenting can impact a child's social and cognitive development, provides commentary for CNN.com about a new study of how teens cope with parents' military deployments.

The story, which first appeared Jan. 29, can be found online at http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/01/29/adolescents.military.parents/index.html?iref=24hours.

Researchers at the U.S. Army War College's Strategic Studies Institute found that although Army-family teens generally experience higher stress levels than their nonmilitary counterparts, they have better coping skills than the researchers expected.

In general, according to the researchers, adolescent children of frequently deployed soldiers cope better as they get accustomed to repeated deployments, and if they believe Americans support the reason for the deployments.

The 2009 study of 559 Army-family adolescents found 56 percent who said they coped "well" or "very well" with parents' deployments. Seventeen percent said they were coping "poorly" or "very poorly."

Kelley told CNN that the concept that multiple deployments actually help military children is a "tough and age-old question." At least one previous study seemed to indicate "no," she said. The latest study from the War College "seems to indicate that up to three deployments is associated with lower stress, so maybe these youth do learn to cope."

Kelley began examining the impact of parental deployments on children more than a decade ago. For instance, her research in the late 1990s revealed that children of deployed mothers experience higher levels of sadness and anxiety and exhibited higher levels of behavioral problems than children with non-deployed Navy mothers.

Her research also has looked at work-family stress, paternal influences on children's development, parent-child relationships in families with disabled children, and parenting in families experiencing economic stress, job instability or substance abuse.

This article was posted on: February 2, 2010

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