Adolescents and Adaptation: The Experience Of Youth In Military Families Dealing With Parental Deployment

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Virginia Tech

This study examined the processes associated with bonadaptation and maladaptation among adolescents with a deployed military parent. Specifically, this inquiry explored general themes of adaptation as well as those that are associated with the phenomenon of ambiguous loss. To examine the data this qualitative study used the constant comparative as well as modified analytic induction. Focus groups of 107 adolescents ranging in age from 11 to 15 were used to find five high adjustment adolescents and five low adjustment adolescents. This study found that common themes from each group included parental deployment status and frequency; formal and informal supports; changes in discipline; coping and stress reduction; changes in living arrangements; and contact with the deployed parents. This study found that there were commonalities within the members of the group and differences between the two groups themselves. It was also discovered that both groups exhibited indicators of ambiguous loss but were at different ends of the adjustment continuum. This study attributes this difference to the utilization of formal and informal supports as well as positive meanings attached to the deployment due to perceived benefits of the parent being deployed.

Ambiguous Loss, Military, Deployment, Adaptation, Adolescents