Impact of paternal deployment to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and paternal post-Traumatic stress disorder on the children of military fathers

Nicola T. Fear*, Ruth V. Reed, Sarah Rowe, Howard Burdett, David Pernet, Alyson Mahar, Amy C. Iversen, Paul Ramchandani, Alan Stein, Simon Wessely

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background Little is known about the social and emotional well-being of children whose fathers have been deployed to the conflicts in Iraq/Afghanistan or who have post-Traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Aims To examine the emotional and behavioural well-being of children whose fathers are or have been in the UK armed forces, in particular the effects of paternal deployment to the conflicts in Iraq or Afghanistan and paternal PTSD. Method Fathers who had taken part in a large tri-service cohort and had children aged 3-16 years were asked about the emotional and behavioural well-being of their child(ren) and assessed for symptoms of PTSD via online questionnaires and telephone interview. Results In total, 621 (67%) fathers participated, providing data on 1044 children. Paternal deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan was not associated with childhood emotional and behavioural difficulties. Paternal probable PTSD were associated with child hyperactivity. This finding was limited to boys and those under 11 years of age. Conclusions This study showed that adverse childhood emotional and behavioural well-being was not associated with paternal deployment but was associated with paternal probable PTSD. Declaration of interest N.T.F. is a trustee of the Warrior Programme, a charity supporting ex-service personnel and their families. She is also a member of the Independent Group Advising on the Release of Data (IGARD). S.W. is a trustee of Combat Stress, a charity supporting ex-service personnel and their families, and President of the Royal Society of Medicine. S.W. is partially funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit (NIHR HPRU) in Emergency Preparedness and Response at King's College London in partnership with Public Health England (PHE), in collaboration with the University of East Anglia and Newcastle University.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-355
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Volume212
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018

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