A new study finds children whose parents are deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan are more likely to suffer mental health problems like depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, or behavioral problems. Dr. Alyssa J. Mansfield of the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Honolulu conducted the study with former colleagues from the University of North Carolina.
Researchers looked at soldiers' children ages 5 to 17 with at least one parent in the Army on active duty. Children in the study had their parent deployed an average of 11 months. They study found the longer the deployment, the greater the likelihood of mental health problems.
The study's authors say:
According to Dr. Stephen J. Cozza, roughly 44 percent of active duty troops are parents, meaning there are about 1.2 million military children in the United States. Since the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001, at least 2 million American servicemembers have deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.