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Innovative program builds parenting skills of returning soldiers' families

GewirtzA-2007.jpgFamily social science professor Abi Gewirtz is leading a first of its kind parenting study with Minnesota National Guard families to strengthen parenting skills of returning soldiers and their families. Funded by a $3.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the five-year study is designed to help people parent effectively despite the difficulties of deployment.

ADAPT (After Deployment, Adaptive Parenting Tools) will recruit 400 families with kids between the ages of 5 and 12 to test the program's effectiveness over time. ADAPT is based on the Oregon Parent Management Training program. "It's a parenting intervention that has been shown to be very, very effective at supporting parenting in other contexts, so our test is to see whether it works at promoting children's resilience in this context," said Gewirtz in a recent Minnesota Public Radio story.

Research has shown that the period when soldiers return from combat is often the most stressful for military families, which is when families will be enrolled in the study. "The effects of deployment on kids are not ... just about combat stress symptoms that the soldier might be experiencing, but they are about the fact that the parent was gone for a year in the child's life," said Gewirtz on MPR.

Gewirtz and college researchers will be recruiting the first 100 families for the program beginning this spring.

Listen to the MPR story:

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