Guard and Reserve Military Families Thesis

Excerpt from Thesis :

" (Rand National Defense Research Institute, 2009)

It is reported by Rand National Defense Research Institute that when service members and their spouses were polled for the purpose of making an assessment of the readiness of the family for the most recent deployment. Findings state as follows:

65% of service members and 60% of spouses indicated (Rand National Defense Research Institute, 2009)

The way that family readiness was defined is stated to however vary and that there are three specific readiness categories were cited including:

(1) financial readiness;

(2) readiness related to household responsibilities; and (3) Emotional or mental readiness. (Rand National Defense Research Institute, 2009)

It is critically important that knowledge be gained concerning how families prepare for deployment of the service member. It was found in the study conducted by Rand National Defense Research Institute that "…like readiness, coping meant different things to different families." (2009)

Those who had no defined representation of coping totaled 37% of service members and 29% of spouses…Those who did offer a definition tended to discuss coping in terms of dealing with emotions or handling household responsibilities." (Rand National Defense Research Institute, 2009)

Those who claimed that their family coped 'well' or 'very well' is stated as follows:

Percent of Service Members


Percent of spouses


(Rand National Defense Research Institute, 2009)

Problems that were found to stem from deployment included various types of "…deployment-related challenge[s]." (Rand National Defense Research Institute, 2009) in fact, these types of problems and families were "varied a great deal." (Rand National Defense Research Institute, 2009)

Mentioned most frequently were the following:

Emotional or mental problems



Service members


(Rand National Defense Research Institute, 2009)

Problems with household responsibilities



Service members


(Rand National Defense Research Institute, 2009)

There was reported to be a great range of mental and emotional problems stated to range in severity "from relatively mild sadness and anxiety to more severe emotional or mental difficulties requiring medical attention." (Rand National Defense Research Institute, 2009)

Younger spouses were more likely to report this specific problem than were older couples with well-established marriages and the older couples additionally were more likely to discuss matters of the household. Other issues were stated to be related to such as employment issues and issues concerning children of the marriage. Rand reports that while 29% of service members claimed that there were no family problems related to deployment the number spouses making the same claim was on l4% of respondents. (Rand National Defense Research Institute, 2009, paraphrased)

It is additionally reported that most families reported that there were positive aspects of deployment including the following:

Increased family closeness (spouses=29%, service members=20%)

A combination of patriotism, pride, and civic responsibility (spouses=24%, service members=15%) (Rand National Defense Research Institute, 2009)

Those stating there were financial benefits to deployment recently were as follows:

Service members




(Rand National Defense Research Institute, 2009)

Resource types utilized by most families during recent deployment include those as follows according to the Rand report:

(1) TRICARE; and (2) Family support organizations.

(Rand National Defense Research Institute, 2009)

Informal resources are stated to have included those as follows:

(1) extended family;

(2) religious organizations;

(3) Friends and neighbors. (Rand National Defense Research Institute, 2009)

The study reported by Rand found that family readiness and family coping both impacted the retention of service members and service member effectiveness and specifically stated is that "those who described their family as ready or very ready for the deployment and those who believed their family coped well or very well tended to have a preference for staying. The same was true for those who mentioned one of the major positive aspects of deployment:

(1) financial gain,

(2) increased family closeness, or patriotism and (3) Pride. (Rand National Defense Research Institute, 2009)

Of those who cited problems as having a negative impact on retention the problems connected to "emotional or mental health, employment, education, marital issues, or health care all were more likely to express a preference for leaving." (Rand National Defense Research Institute, 2009)

The work of Castaneda, et al. (2008) entitled: "Deployment Experiences of Guard and Reserve Families" (2008) addressed several questions relating to the deployment experiences of members of the U.S. National Guard and their families, the first of which asks "How ready are guard and reserve families?" Stated in
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relation to this question is that family readiness is "regarded as a critical aspect of preparedness for a service member's active duty service. DoD has stated that "The Department's ability to assist service members and their families to prepare for separations during short- and long-term deployments is paramount to sustaining mission capabilities and mission readiness" (Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, no date)." (Castaneda, et al., (2008) it is stated that family readiness varies in its definition and measures and that "some surveys of reserve component service members overlook this subject entirely." (Castaneda, et al., 2008) the research of Castaneda et al. is of the nature that conducted an assessment of the meaning of family readiness from both the view of the service members and their spouses. It is stated that there are three types or components of family readiness that were cited by 2/5 of participants in the interviews conducted and reported by Castaneda, et al. (2008) and that those components were:

(1) financial readiness,

(2) readiness related to household responsibilities,

(3) and emotional or mental readiness. (Castaneda, et al., 2008)

Other resources that were less frequently mentioned were those as follows:

(1) legal matters;

(2) military resources; and (3) getting support system in place. (Castaneda, et al., 2008)

Financial readiness is stated to include various financial tasks as follows:

(1) saving money in anticipation of a break in pay or in case of emergency;

(2) notification of creditors; and (3) short- and long-term financial planning. (Castaneda, et al., 2008)

Readiness in regards to household responsibilities is stated to include:

(1) preparing to handle household responsibilities normally taken care of by the service member;

(2) making arrangements related to children. (Castaneda, et al., 2008)

Castaneda states that among those in the study who made provision of a definition of readiness "this kind of readiness was mentioned by comparable percentages of service members and spouses: 50% and 48%, respectively" (Castaneda, et al., 2008) Castaneda relates that in regards to emotional or mental readiness was inclusive of "…a number of references to "being mentally ready" or having enough time for all family members to "deal with" the fact that the service member will be separated from his or her family for a potentially considerable length of time." (Castaneda, et al., 200) Castaneda states that 65% of the service members and 60% of the spouses in the study indicated that their family was ready or very ready and approximately 1/6 of both service members and spouses were stated to have "characterized their family as somewhat ready with approximately 1/6 of both groups characterizing their family as not ready at all." (Castaneda, et al., 200)

Further analyses is stated to have shown which specific spouse and service member characteristics assisted in accounting for differences in family readiness levels reported and to have further demonstrated "a strong interrelationship between family readiness and military preparedness." (Castaneda, et al., 200) Specifically stated are findings that "…service members who said they were well prepared for active duty tended to characterize their family as ready or very ready, while those who believed they were poorly prepared for active duty tended to feel their family was not ready at all." Castaneda states however, that the study was not able to determine "…whether one type of readiness affected the other, or if a third factor, such as an underlying personal attribute, influenced both family readiness and military preparedness." (Castaneda, et al., 2008)

The second question addressed by Castaneda, et al. (2008) asks "What problems do guard and reserve families report?" Stated is that when experts on reserve component family issues about problems that they believed was confronted by reserve families, it was agreed upon by the majority of these experts that were experienced by both guard and reserve families were those as follows:

(1) financial problems,

(2) health care issues,

(3) emotional or mental problems, and (4) household responsibility issues. (Castaneda, et al., 2008)

Castaneda et al. states that they were on the hearing end of these problems by both service members and spouses during interviews but however, "to varying degrees." (2008) Most frequently mentioned was emotional or mental problems in 39% of spouses and 26% of service members. (Castaneda, et al., 2008, paraphrased)

The demands of family life included those as follows:

(1) difficulties with child care;

(2) difficulties with household chores; and (3) difficulties related to chauffeuring children. (Castaneda, et al., 2008)

Children's issues were mentioned by 12% of service members and 26% of spouses and are stated to have included "…a range of emotional or mental problems as well as other…

Sources Used in Documents:


Castaneda, Laura Werber (2008) Deployment Experiences of Guard and Reserve Families: Implications for Support and Retention. Rand National Defense Research Institute. Online available at:

How Can the Military Best Support Guard and Reserve Families During Deployment? (2009) Rand National Defense Research Institute. Online available at:

CHAPTER FOUR: Results (4-5 pages)

Pisano, Mark C. (2008) Military Deployment: How School Psychologists Can Help. NASP Communique, Vol 37 #2. October 2008. Online available at:

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