Effects of war-induced maternal separation on children’s adjustment during the Gulf War and two years later

Military personnel deployed to the Middle East included an unprecedented number of women, many of whom were mothers. Using a structural equation modeling approach, we examined the predictors of children's adjustment problems in data collected from a representative sample of 263 Air Force mothers 2 years after the Gulf War. Using a retrospective survey, we found that the main predictors of children's adjustment problems at the time of the war were mothers' difficulties in providing for the care of the children, mothers' deployment in the theater of the war (vs. deployment elsewhere), and degree of change in children's lives. Most important, war-related adjustment problems were not related to children's adjustment 2 years later, suggesting that the effects of maternal separation during the war were transient. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)