Combat-injured service members and their families: The relationship of child distress and spouse-perceived family distress and disruption



Combat injury in military service members affects both child and family functioning. This preliminary study examined the relationship of child distress postinjury to preinjury deployment-related family distress, injury severity, and family disruption postinjury. Child distress postinjury was assessed by reports from 41 spouses of combat-injured service members who had been hospitalized at two military tertiary care treatment centers. Families with high preinjury deployment-related family distress and high family disruption postinjury were more likely to report high child distress postinjury. Spouse-reported injury severity was unrelated to child distress. Findings suggest that early identification and intervention with combat-injured families experiencing distress and disruption may be warranted to support family and child health, regardless of injury severity.