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Study Seeks To Help Military Families Weather A Parent's Deployment

A sailor embraces family and friends before leaving Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, for an independent deployment to the western Pacific Ocean
MC2 Tiarra Fulgham
RTI International is studying whether family skills training can help families thrive despite a parent's deployment.

RTI International is studying whether a family-skills building program can help military families thrive as a parent transitions into and out of deployment.

Senior Project Manager Jessica Nelson says deployment puts unique stress on a family.

"The roles change, right? If you're used to having two parents, suddenly one parent's gone. A lot of the dynamics of the family functioning change, and a lot of increased pressure on the one parent who's still at home, increased pressure on the kids who are at home and only have the one parent to go to."

Nelson says dynamics shift again when the deployed parent returns home.

"What the sessions aim to do is increase family functioning, promote youth building skills, help kids learn how to avoid peer pressure and make better decisions, help with performance in school."

RTI is working with the Partnerships in Prevention Science Institute at Iowa State University to study whether kids in families who complete the training thrive at school and resist peer pressure. The USO of North Carolina is helping shape curriculum for the study.

Nelson says they hope to recruit 720 families with fifth- or sixth-graders from Wake County and the counties around Fort Bragg, Camp Lejeune and Seymour Johnson Air Force base.

Families interested in more information or to participate can contact the following people:

  • Jessica Nelson, RTI Senior Project Manager, at or 919-485-2733
  • Kelli Davis, USO of NC Troop and Family Program Director, at or 919-840-3000.
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