Veterans' social-emotional and physical functioning informs perceptions of family and child functioning

Kathrine Sullivan, Sara Kintzle, Nicholas Barr, Tamika D. Gilreath, Carl A. Castro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Veteran-connected families and children are an understudied population who may experience a host of stressors, including exposure to disabling parental injury, unstable family income, changes in peer support networks, and a civilian community that is less aware of their particular needs. Using a systems perspective, this article examines the association between Veterans' social-emotional and physical functioning deficits and perceptions of family and child functioning. Methods: Participants were 594 male Veteran parents who completed the Chicago Veterans Survey, including the World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule, the McMaster Family Assessment Device, and a child functioning screening tool. Results: Structural equation models indicated positive direct effects of Veteran functioning deficits on perceptions of adverse family and child functioning. Veteran functioning also had indirect ef-fects on perceived child functioning through family functioning in social and physical models (βs = 0.065 and 0.055, ps = 0.017 and 0.006, respectively). Discussion: In both social-emotional and physical functioning models, increas-es in Veteran functioning deficits were associated with poorer perceptions of family functioning and more negative reports of child outcomes. Although many Veteran families appear resilient, prevention and intervention services tar-geting family functioning may be a useful strategy to interrupt cascading negative effects of Veterans' health deficits. Demonstrating these relationships in a Veteran context is critical to developing policies and programs that effectively support Veteran-connected families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-47
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Military, Veteran and Family Health
Volume4
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Family systems
  • Mental health
  • Physical health
  • Veteran families
  • Veteran-connected children

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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