Photo of a military couple

Research Programs

Children of MultipleDeployments

In this study for the Department of Defense, MFRI led a team that assessed the well-being of young children in military families affected by repeated deployments. Possible consequences encompass increased anxiety, emotional distress, peer problems, conduct issues, and hyperactivity. We compared the rates of these concerns with civilian children.  And we tested for relationships to thenumber, length, and timing of their parent’s deployments to understand forwhich children, under which conditions, and in what ways does deployment present a significant risk.

Family Diversity

Realizing that contemporary military families transcend traditional stereotypes, the Navy asked MFRI help them learn about the diversity of families currently serving. 

Family Diversity Part I looks at thediversity of service members and their families in the U.S. Armed Forces with aspecial focus on the Navy and Marine Corps. We examine the risk and resilience of diverse families; how they adjust during this time of war. In this context, we report findings from a series offocus groups MFRI conducted with diverse service and family members in the Navyand Marine Corps.

Family Diversity Part II focuses on the particular experiences of service members with a wound, illness, or injury and their families.  MFRI interviewed military service members,care coordinators, and service providers to discover common and particular needs. The researchers then compared existingservice programs, both civilian and military, to evaluate their relative fit inmeeting those needs.

Family Journeys

Family Journeys is a research project designed to understand how families negotiate and manage changing family roles before, during and after deployment. First, the study looks at patterns of daily communications, roles, and responsibilities over the course of the deployment cycle. Second, the study examines families’ dynamics of risk andresilience.  Thirdly, it follows the transitions and trajectories of roles and relationships over time.

We are currently recruiting participants for the study.
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Sesame Street

Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organization behind Sesame Street, created an educational kit to help young children cope with the hardship of seeing a family member deployed to war.  This kit, Talk,Listen, Connect: Deployments, Homecomings, Changes (TLC) includes a DVD featuring popular Sesame Street characters along with printed materials and online resources.  MFRI evaluated the effectiveness of these materials.

TLCII: Deployments addresses the challenges of multiple deployments on the well-being of children and their family.

TLC II: Changes focuses on the trauma of having a parent return from deployment with a wound or injury.


ZERO TO THREE, a non-profit that provides training to nurture healthy early development, created Duty to Care (DTC), atraining program to meet the needs of very young children affected by deployment. DTC educates childcare, family support, healthcare, and mental health professionals regarding the challenges facing military families. MFRI evaluated the curriculum’s effectiveness in meeting these needs.