US & World

Survey of military families shows stress a factor

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The United States has been at war for nearly a decade. A new survey examines the ways deployment affects military families.

More than 3,600 people with family members in all branches of service answered the survey by Blue Star Families, a support organization for military families. Nearly all the respondents say deployment stress is widespread, but they reported limited mental health problems as a result. Pay and benefits are the top concern, followed by the effects of deployment on kids.

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer is co-chair of the Military Family Caucus. The Democrat from California says the information will help to shape federal policy. "What we need to know," she says, is "the good and the tough, the bad, the beautiful that you’re going through. Because if we know that, information is power – we can do something about it."

Only 1 percent of survey respondents say deployment has a positive effect on children. Frequent moves interrupt education. Different school districts have different curricula; that means kids miss out on some subjects and have to repeat others at their new schools.