Risky behavior frequent among military child

Violence, harassment, drug abuse, and firearm-carrying seen in children with parents serving in armed forces

WORKING IN the military is no joke, especially when someone has to leave the family or small children behind to protect the country’s freedom and sovereignty. However, this may have psychological effects and adverse change of behavior on their children.

A study conducted, from March to April 2013, in California among school children published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) analyzed more than 50,000 military-involved and more than half a million nonmilitary-involved secondary students in every county and school districts in California.

Kathrine Sullivan, M.S.W., of the University Of Southern California School Of Social Work, reported higher risk of recent and lifetime weapon-carrying, substance use, harassment, and violence unlike the non-military-involved students.

The highest adverse behavior recorded is physical violence with 62.5 percent of children with parents in the military, 11 percent higher than the children with parents not in the military.

Excessive alcohol drinking coming in as second adverse behavior with 45.2 percent among children with parents in the military

On the other hand, the lowest risky behavior recorded is 11.9 percent with recent illegal use of substance, such as cocaine, marijuana, and lysergic acid diethylamide [LSD], compared to those nonmilitary-involved children with 7.3 percent.

The rest of the data show approximately less than 10 percent difference between children with military-involved parents and the contrary, including smoking, firearm-carrying, and harassment.

Results show the connection and significance between a child’s aggressive behavior and a parent working in military compared to children whose parents are not. Moreover, the researchers suggest that these types of behavior seem to be increasing since earlier study in 2011.

Because of this matter, the government must promote a better and resilient action to assist those children who are struggling to cope while their parents or guardians are deployed as this may also affect their academic success, socioemotional, and health in general. Ma. Vanessa L. Estinozo with an NEJM report

Vital Signs Issue 79 Vol. 4, September 1-30 2015