Effect of Deployment on the Occurrence of Child Maltreatment in Military and Nonmilitary Families

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American Journal of Epidemiology

A time-series analysis by researchers at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and the Research Triangle Institute in Raleigh, N.C., examined child maltreatment data from 2000 to 2003 in Texas, and the changes that occurred in child maltreatment rates for military and nonmilitary families over time. It focused on periods of deployment for the members of the military.

Among military personnel with at least one dependent, the rate of child maltreatment increased by approximately 30 percent for each 1 percentage-point increase in the percentage of active duty personnel departing to or returning from deployment. According to the researchers, the findings indicate that both departures to and returns from deployment impose stresses on military families that probably increase the rate of child maltreatment. They recommend that intervention programs be implemented to mitigate family dysfunction in times of potential stress. Abstract available online. (800) 852-7323, http://aje.oxfordjournals.org.