Home' Navy News : October 11th 2012 Contents dan_an_11oct
October 11, 2012
CPL Max Bree
A NEW study into the effects of
deployment on ADF members' fam-
ilies reveals the importance of social
networks such as extended family
More than 4000 people, includ-
ing serving and former members
along with current and ex part-
ners, participated in the study to
determine if there were any physi-
cal, mental or social heath effects
on families because of a member's
deployment to East Timor.
The survey looked at risk factors
and ways to protect families to guide
the government in giving support.
Dr Annabel McGuire, the study's
chief investigator, said the study was
needed to formally understand how
families of deployed soldiers were
"We knew what Joe down the
pub thought," Dr McGuire said.
"But we didn't know what a lot of
When families of members who
deployed to East Timor were com-
pared with families of those who
hadn't, the study found no significant
difference between the two groups.
Instead, the report revealed gen-
eral information about the wellbeing
of deployed members' families.
"We discovered the health of
one member affects the health of
the other members of the family," Dr
"When the ADF member was
have a say
ADF members and their families have until
October 21 to submit the ADF Families Survey
and have their say on family support programs
The ADF families' survey covers topics
such as how separation, workload and mobility
impact on families and the retention of ADF
members, as well as what Defence support
services families access, what they think about
them and how they can be better communicated.
Since the last ADF families survey in 2009,
the Defence Community Organisation has
introduced a variety of initiatives to improve
support to families, including:
The Defence Family Helpline introduced
earlier this year to provide a 24/7 support
service to families and staffed by quali-
fied human services professionals.
The FamilySMART programs imple-
mented to help Defence families man-
age the challenges of military life,
including deployment, parental absence
from home, moving house, or a partner
returning after a long time away.
Support for partners' education and
employment has increased.
The Deployment Support Booklet was
released late last year.
The feedback provided through the ADF
Families Survey helps ensure that Defence
focuses on the right issues to improve quality
of life for ADF families. The survey should
take about 20-30 minutes to complete.
Access the survey online at www.defence.gov.au/
dco/ or www.dfa.org.au/. The paper survey can be
mailed by contacting (02) 6127 2153 or defence.
GOOD READING: AIRCDRE Andrew Dowse, Director Centre for Military and Veterans' Health Professor
Peter Warte, Defence Families Australia National Convenor Julie Blackburn, Chief Investigator Timor-Leste
study Annabel McGuire, Defence Families of Australia members Amita and Isabella, Veterans' Affairs Minister
Warren Snowdon, RADM Stephen Gilmore and DCN RADM Trevor Jones.
Photo: Lauren Black
Social support helps
doing well the family was doing
The study revealed that partners
with stronger support networks,
such as extended family or cowork-
ers, reported better mental health,
lower stress and fewer behavioural
issues with their children.
The study found no evidence that
a deployment to East Timor increased
the risk of birth complications in
partners or any difference in health
and perceived "work-family conflict"
with East Timor partners and others.
Less than 5 per cent of partners
in the study showed signs of post-
traumatic stress disorder, more than
60 per cent of families reported
moderate to very high levels of fam-
ily satisfaction and 91 per cent said
their families had a healthy range of
cohesion and flexibility.
However, the study found spous-
es felt a negative impact on their
relationship and on their children
as the number of deployments
increased. And if the ADF member
had poor mental health, their partner
was more likely to also report having
poor mental health.
This in turn had a negative impact
on their children.
Dr McGuire said many spouses
wanted to say how proud they were
to have their partner serve overseas.
"We had so many families tell us
'we're so proud, you're not asking
about what was right about deploy-
ments'," she said.
The report can be viewed at www.dva.
Links Archive September 27th 2012 October 25th 2012 Navigation Previous Page Next Page