• Journal Article

Effect of deployment on the occurrence of child maltreatment in military and nonmilitary families

Citation

Rentz, E. D., Marshall, S. W., Loomis, D., Casteel, C., Martin, S. L., & Gibbs, D. (2007). Effect of deployment on the occurrence of child maltreatment in military and nonmilitary families. American Journal of Epidemiology, 165(10), 1199-1206. DOI: 10.1093/aje/kwm008

Abstract

War has a profound emotional impact on military personnel and their families, but little is known about how deployment-related stress impacts the occurrence of child maltreatment in military families. This time-series analysis of Texas child maltreatment data from 2000 to 2003 examined changes in the occurrence of child maltreatment in military and nonmilitary families over time and the impact of recent deployment increases. The rate of occurrence of substantiated maltreatment in military families was twice as high in the period after October 2002 (the 1-year anniversary of the September 11th attacks) compared with the period prior to that date (rate ratio = 2.15, 95% confidence interval: 1.85, 2.50). Among military personnel with at least one dependent, the rate of child maltreatment in military families increased by approximately 30% for each 1% increase in the percentage of active duty personnel departing to (rate ratio = 1.28, 95% confidence interval: 1.20, 1.37) or returning from (rate ratio = 1.31, 95% confidence interval: 1.16, 1.48) operation-related deployment. These findings indicate that both departures to and returns from operational deployment impose stresses on military families and likely increase the rate of child maltreatment. Intervention programs should be implemented to mitigate family dysfunction in times of potential stress