Children from military families have to cope up with more emotional and behavioural difficulties compared to other American youngsters, says a new study. The older children and girls struggle the most when a parent is deployed overseas.
The RAND Corporation, a non-profit research organization, which looked at the wartime well being of 1,500 children, also found that older children and girls are the worst affected.
Researchers discovered having a parent deployed for a longer time period and having a non-deployed parent who has himself/herself gone through emotional problems were key aspects related to the emotional instability of military children.
The non-deployed parent or other caregiver was also observed for the study.
Anita Chandra, lead author and a behavioral scientist at RAND, said: "Our study suggests that children of deployed service members face emotional and behavioral challenges.
"While this finding may seem intuitive, our study begins to shed more light on the nature of the problem. Much more work is needed to better understand these challenges and to improve ways to support children throughout the deployment cycle."
Researchers found that children from military families showed considerably higher levels of emotional difficulties than other children.
Also, about one-third of the military children surveyed reported symptoms of anxiety, which were a little higher than the percentage reported in other studies that examined children.
Older youths had more snags with school and more problems with behaviours like fighting, while younger children reported more symptoms of anxiety.
Girls had lesser problems in school and with pals but were more anxious than boys.
It was seen that the longer the time a parent was deployed in the last three years, the more was the chance of a child reporting difficulties like taking up more responsibilities at home.
Sandraluz Lara-Cinisomo, co-author and RAND researcher, said: "Our findings suggest that the more time parents are away, the more likely it is that children will experience problems."
The National Military Family Association, an independent non-profit group, which provides support and services to families of military personnel, had commissioned the research.
The study has appeared online in the journal Pediatrics.