DOI: 10.1111/famp.12918 ISSN: 0014-7370

Replication and extension of the military family stress model: The after deployment adaptive parenting tools ADAPT4U study

Cheuk H. Cheng, Neveen Ali‐Saleh Darawshy, Susanne Lee, Hayley Brigman, Dave DeGarmo, Abigail Gewirtz
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Psychology


The military family stress (MFS) model conceptualizes that wartime deployments and post‐traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms are associated with couple, parenting, and child adjustment difficulties. The aim of this study was to replicate and extend the military family stress model by examining the associations among deployment length, PTSD symptoms, marital functioning, parenting practices, and child adjustment in a replication sample of both National Guard and Reserve (NG/R) as well as active‐duty service member families. The MFS model is extended to test whether these relationships vary between mothers and fathers. The sample included 208 families enrolled in a randomized controlled trial of a parenting program for military families (94.4% of fathers and 21.6% of mothers were deployed). Replicating the MFS model, we specified parenting, marital quality, and child adjustment as latent variables and conducted multi‐group structural equation models. Parenting practices were positively associated with marital quality and child adjustment. PTSD symptoms were negatively associated with marital quality. The indirect effect from PTSD symptoms to parenting practices through marital quality was marginally significant. The indirect effect from marital quality to child adjustment through parenting practices was significant. There were no significant gender differences between the two structural models. This study provides empirical support for the MFS model. Results demonstrate that deployment‐related stressors are significantly associated with parent and family functioning. Parenting programs for military families might effectively target similar risk processes among both mothers and fathers.

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