Help seeking by parents in military families on behalf of their young children.


Over the past decade, many children have experienced a parental deployment, increasing their risk for emotional and behavioral problems. Research in the general population has shown that while many services are available for families with children experiencing problems, the rate of service utilization is low. This study examined help-seeking processes in military families in relation to children’s problems. We collected data on emotional and behavioral problems from a sample of military parents with children ranging in age from zero to 10 years. While prevalence of children with problems was similar to prior research, results in this study suggested that military parents were alert to problems. Although military parents’ help-seeking processes were similar to those documented in civilian studies in many respects, we did not find a significant gender difference in the recognition of problems. Furthermore, we found that children’s experiences of deployment were related to use of services. Families who used services most often relied on primary care providers. These findings suggest military families are mindful of the possibility of their children having problems. In addition, many families utilize civilian services. Therefore, it is important to ensure that front-line civilian providers fully understand the context of military family issues.