There is a study that is suggesting that children who have parents deployed in the military are twice as likely to join a gang, be involved in fights, or carry a weapon. This includes both sons and daughters. This study is raising serious concerns about a consequence of war that is under-recognized. Almost two million children in the United States had at least one parent serving in the military last year.
It is already known just how deployment can hurt a family but the effect of deployment on the children is a new emerging field of study. It is the first study of its kind to focus on children affected by deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. The studies are comparing the behavior of children in non-military families with children in military families.
This study is based on a questionnaire that was given to approximately ten thousand students in the eighth, tenth, and twelfth grades in Washington in 2008. Washington was chosen because it has the sixth biggest active duty population in the United States. Approximately five hundred fifty children who were surveyed said they had a parent that was deployed to a combat zone in the past six years.
Comparing military daughters to civilian daughters, the daughters of deployed military parents were three times more likely to get into a fight or be in a gang. They were also more than two times as likely to carry a weapon to school. Such behavior is more common in boys but the rate of the boys with parents deployed were two times as high as the girls with deployed parents to be involved in such violent behavior.