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Monday
Nov082010

Military Deployment Stress Seeps to Children 

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(BETHESDA, Md.) -- A study released Monday in the journal Pediatrics suggests children whose military parents have been deployed are more likely to suffer from behavioral or mental health disorders.

"Military deployment doesn't just affect the soldier, but it's the family back home. Not just the spouse but children, too," said Dr. Gregory Gorman, a military-based commander and assistant professor of pediatrics at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., and lead author of the study.

"We hear this anecdotally, but now medical records show that it's true."

Gorman and his colleagues tracked health claim records during 2006 and 2007 of nearly 650,000 children ages 3 to 8 and found that those with a parent deployed within the two years had an 11 percent higher rate of clinic visits because of mental health or behavioral issues than military children whose parents were not deployed. Researchers also noted the rate of visits increased as the child grew older.

Previous studies have looked at emotional and behavioral changes during one point in time. This is the first study of its kind to track children of all military branches over time, Gorman said.

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