Exploring gender similarities and differences of adolescents’ perceptions of their experiences throughout the phases of parental military deployment
Gladney, Leslie Arlee
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The current study explored and expanded current literature on adolescents’ experiences with parental military deployment. Adolescents provided pivotal perspectives of their experiences with their families and peers during each phase (pre, during, post/reintegration) of parental deployment (pre, during, and post). A sample of 75 youth aged 11-18 years participated in focus groups around the country at Operation Military Kids summer camps in 2008. Data were examined using content latent analysis to reveal possible variation in adolescents’ expressions of their experiences according to each deployment phase. Additionally, data were examined to explore possible similarities and differences between boys and girls. Symbolic interaction theory and family stress theory framed the study’s approach. Results indicate that adolescents expressed having difficulty in adjusting to their parents’ military deployment. Adolescents also expressed concern for their family members’ ability to cope.