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 Military Families Project



     University of Houston


What is the Military Families Project &

Family Separation Study?

The Military Families Project (Family Separation Study) is a research study funded by the Department of Defense's U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command. This is a multi-site study being conducted by the University of Houston, University of Central Florida, and University of Hawaii. The study examines the effects of deployment stress on military families, focusing specifically on the children and non-deployed spouses of service members.  The study is also examining the effects of separation in 2 civilian family groups experiencing separation: recently divorced or separated families, families with a parent who travels for work for long periods of time.  The University of Houston site is run by the Sleep and Anxiety Center of Houston, which conducts the study on the University of Houston campus or in participants' homes (depending on location).  

What is the purpose of this study?

This study examines how family separation affects children (ages 7 to 17 years) and spouses using biological and psychological measures of stress, clinical interviews, and assessments of family, social, and academic functioning.

This research has three specific aims:


(1) To compare psychological symptoms, stressful behaviors and functional impairment among children of deployment parents, children on non-deployed parents, divorced/separated parents, parents traveling for work, and two parent families.


(2) To compare parental psychology stress and parenting stress in these same five groups.


(3) To determine the relationship between parental emotional stress/distress and children's response to stress.


Ultimately, we will use data we collect from this research to develop an early intervention/prevention program based on identified problems.

This project has been reviewed by the University of Houston Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects (713) 743-9204

Who is eligible to participate?

Certain families with children between the ages of 7 and 17 are eligible to participate.  Five types of families are eligible to participate: 

  1. ​Military families with a deployed parent.
  2. Military families with a non-deployed parent. 
  3. ​Civilian families with two parents in the home.
  4. Civilian families with recently separated/divorced parents (within past 12 months). 
  5. Civilian families experiencing temporary separation (minimum 1 month) due to the normal course of parents' work.