Needs Assessment of Surviving Military Families: Clinical Symptoms and the Parent-Child Relationship

Elizabeth E. Burgin, Elizabeth A. Prosek, Kahyen Shin, Victoria L. Cunningham, Warren N. Ponder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is limited empirical data to account for the mental health and parent-child relationship outcomes among bereaved military families. The implementation of appropriate programs and mental health interventions depends on the study of relevant demographic and mental health constructs. We report the findings of a needs assessment conducted at a nonprofit organization serving bereaved military families, inclusive of 64 families, with adolescent children (M = 15.04 years, SD = 5.01), who experienced service member loss due to combat (37.5%), suicide (15.6%), homicide or terrorism (10.9%), unintentional self-harm (n = 4.7%), accident (4.7%), or another circumstance (1.6%). Our results align with previous researchers’ findings that surviving military families are at greater risk for problematic grief outcomes, whereby generalized anxiety (t = −3.83, p =.003, d = −0.957) and depressive symptoms (t = −4.28, p =.003, d = −1.07) demonstrate significant differences among complicated and non-complicated grievers. We also found elevated levels of parenting stress. These findings inform recommendations for assessment, program development, and future research for mental health service providers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-50
Number of pages14
JournalCounseling Outcome Research and Evaluation
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology

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