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Adult Children of Fathers Missing in Action (MIA): An Examination of Emotional Distress, Grief, and Family Hardiness


  • Cathy L. Campbell,

    Corresponding author
    1. Cathy L. Campbell is a doctoral candidate for a Ph.D. in Nursing, with a concentration in Family Nursing, at Georgia State University.
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  • Alice S. Demi

    1. Alice S. Demi, RN, DNS, FAAN, is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, College of Health and Human Sciences and Professor School of Nursing at Georgia State University.
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  • *The research reported in this paper was supported in part by a grant from the Georgia Nurses Foundation. The paper was presented at the 1998 Southern Nursing Research Society meeting. The authors wish to acknowledge the assistance of Stephen E. White in the preparation of this paper. This research is dedicated to the first author's father, Colonel William E. Campbell, missing in action since 1969 from the Vietnam War.

**Address correspondence to: Cathy Campbell, RN, MN, School of Nursing, Georgia State University, Box 4019, Atlanta GA, 30302–4019.


This study investigated the relationships among emotional distress, grief, and family hardiness in adult children of missing in action (MIA) fathers using the Resiliency Model of Family Stress, Adjustment and Adaptation. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected in telephone interviews of twenty adult children. Results indicated that 25 years after notification of their father's MIA status, participants still had unresolved grief. Findings provide some support for family hardiness as a strength that facilitated family bonadaptation.