Published online by Cambridge University Press: 11 February 2014
This article reports on a qualitative study of Australian parents’ perceptions of their children's reactions to a military deployment as well as their help-seeking behaviours. Thirty-eight in-depth interviews were conducted with 34 Australian Defence Force (ADF) parents and 33 non-deployed parents (67 participants). Twenty-nine interviews were with couples and nine were with individuals. The findings revealed that this group of children generally fared poorly in terms of physical and mental health, and behavioural outcomes. Children and adolescents had a number of needs which were not identified, assessed or treated, and prevention programmes were reported to be limited. Factors that are associated with positive and negative outcomes from the families’ perspective are outlined. The data showed how developing a deeper understanding of military families’ needs, as well as positive worker–parent relationships, would enhance the therapeutic alliance between parents and service providers. Implications for prevention and intervention approaches in relation to both policy and service delivery are outlined.