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5 Stress, Risk, and Resilience in Military Children
Pages 181-202

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From page 181...
... Thus, in this chapter, the committee focuses on the impact of stressors on child development and how the developmental challenges of childhood and adolescence intersect with the unique experiences of military family life. We found no neurobiological research on military children, hence the review of the civilian literature.
From page 182...
... While we are aware of no research on the ways typical military family life contributes to stress and stress-related outcomes, extensive research on the development of stress regulatory systems can significantly aid in understanding how military-specific stressors affect development among children in service families. While a certain amount of stress is necessary and even optimal for healthy functioning, excessive stress has been shown to impair functioning at multiple levels -- epigenetic, biological, physiological, and behavioral -- and to increase risk for later pathology.
From page 183...
... Individual Differences In general terms, severe stressors affect youth through physiological, biological, genetic, behavioral, affective, and cognitive mechanisms. These stressors can include maltreatment, exposure to a threat of violence or death, or prolonged separation from a primary caregiver at a very young age, among others.
From page 184...
... The Biology of Stress Careful longitudinal examinations of stressful events and child/youth functioning, using data gathered through multiple methods, from multiple informants, and analyzed at multiple levels of analysis (biological, behavioral, etc.) , have enabled researchers to specify with greater clarity the developmental pathways from stressor(s)
From page 185...
... describe how the effects of both chronic and acute stressors may vary depending on the areas of the brain that are developing at the time of the stress exposure. For example, prenatal stress affects the development of regions of the brain associated with the development of the HPA axis (i.e., the hippocampus, amygdala, and frontal cortex)
From page 186...
... . In summary, effective parenting practices protect and nurture children's stress-regulatory capacities, whereas maltreatment and other severe stressors disrupt children's regulation of stress.
From page 187...
... . In summary, extensive research in the civilian realm on the development of children's stress regulatory systems can significantly aid in understanding how military family stressors affect children's development.
From page 188...
... Key Correlates and Predictors of Childhood Resilience Decades of resilience research has demonstrated that resilience is associated with core promotive and protective processes (see Chapter 2 of this volume for definitions) ; these processes galvanize positive adaptation across developmental domains.
From page 189...
... The primary focus in this chapter is on the key correlates of childhood resilience that are most proximal, that is, those that lie within the child and the family. First and foremost, sensitive, responsive, loving, predictable, and protec­ tive parents and caregivers help the development of a secure attachment relationship in infancy and early childhood (Bowlby, 1988)
From page 190...
... . Among a sample of military parents, for example, a parenting intervention strengthened both maternal and paternal parenting self-efficacy, leading to subsequent gains in both parent and child positive adjustment (Gewirtz et al., 2016; Piehler et al., 2016)
From page 191...
... . While limited longitudinal research has been done to examine this association, one longitudinal study found that self-reported hope among children ages 10 to 18 was associated with subsequent positive life satisfaction and fewer internalizing symptoms (Valle et al., 2006)
From page 192...
... The most powerful way to identify sources of resilience is through experimental studies of preventive interventions designed to promote resilience and to prevent maladjustment in the face of risks. Because of their design, experimental intervention studies hold the promise not only to improve children's resilience but also to uncover causal factors in resilience among military children and families (Gewirtz, 2018)
From page 193...
... . Below, we briefly review selected evidence-based interventions with RCT data targeting the malleable factors associated with youth resilience described above.
From page 194...
... examined the Strong African American Families seven-week parenting program among rural families with pre-adolescent children in the southern United States. RCT results indicated improvements on multiple child health and development indicators, including self-regulation, behavioral risks (substance use, antisocial, and risky sexual behaviors)
From page 195...
... Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies, for example, is a classroom- after-school and/or summer camp-based program aimed at reducing conflict among youth by improving outcomes such as executive functioning (Greenberg et al., 1998)
From page 196...
... . Total force fitness: The military family fitness model.
From page 197...
... . Interventions to support and strengthen parenting in military families: State of the evidence.
From page 198...
... . A call for theoretically informed and empirically validated military family interventions.
From page 199...
... Child Development, 66, 1635–1659.
From page 200...
... . Promoting Military Family Well-Being with Digitally-Supported Adaptive and Just-In-Time Adaptive Interventions: Opportunities and Challenges.
From page 201...
... Child Development Perspectives, 9, 164–171. Sandler, I
From page 202...
... Child Development Perspectives, 47. Zelazo, P


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