Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Julie Cerel

Second Advisor

Dr. H. Thompson Prout


Military children have been a population of interest and research speculation for several decades. Despite the research base built studying this population, many questions remain regarding their specific experiences and mental health outcomes. To accommodate the nation's needs when fueling the armed forces by the all volunteer force currently comprising the service branches, many military personnel have found themselves in circumstances including multiple deployments and deployments of lengths approximately equal to one year. With family relationships now a more prominent issue for military members, the necessity of considering the effects of deployment on these family members has become especially pertinent. The purpose of this study was to investigate the way increased exposure to technology affects children’s deployment outcomes in today's military culture, especially in their deployment experiences.

Participants included 71 parents and 20 children in military families currently or within the past year experiencing a deployment. Participants were divided into two phases for completion of study tasks. Phase one participants, 20 children and one of their parents, completed interviews, emotional/behavioral measures, and a deployment experiences survey. The 51 parent participants in Phase two completed only the deployment experiences survey. Evaluation of data presented from participants provided insight into the deployment experiences of these families as impacted by the technological advances in communication and media today. Results indicated a range of positive effects related to technologically supported communication between parents and children throughout deployment. Families participating in increased parental communication during deployment showed relationships to decreases in ambiguous loss symptoms, increases in positive attitudes including growth and maturity, and smooth reintegration following deployment. Despite increases in availability, news exposure reported from children occurred at a low incidence rate. Regardless, negative reactions to news viewing was reported.