Using cognitive behavioral interventions to help children cope with parental military deployments

Robert D. Friedberg, Gina M. Brelsford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are associated with more deployments than in previous years. Recent estimates show 1.2 million school children have a parent that is serving in the active military. Family stress increases proportionately to the length of deployment and the perception of danger. In a recent study, twenty percent of children whose parent was being deployed were identified as "high risk" for psychosocial disturbances. A deployed parent represents a stressor reflecting ambiguous loss which prompts emotional distress. Cognitive behaviorally based prevention and intervention efforts have shown considerable promise with children experiencing a variety of disorders who do not necessarily have a deployed parent. For instance the Penn Resiliency Program has enjoyed considerable empirical support. It seems quite reasonable that these favorable results would generalize to a population of military children. This paper will briefly review the extant literature on the effects of parental deployment on children's emotional well-being and then recommend a variety of cognitive behavioral interventions to enhance their psychological welfare.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-236
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Contemporary Psychotherapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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