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Building resilience in US military families: why it matters
  1. Alicia Gill Rossiter1 and
  2. C G Ling2
  1. 1 College of Nursing, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, USA
  2. 2 School of Nursing, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Alicia Gill Rossiter, College of Nursing, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33612-4766, USA; arossite{at}


Service members and their families have endured significant stressors over the past 19 years in support of the nation’s engagement in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. ‘Resilience’ is the term most commonly used to describe the military spouse and military-connected child. However, due to a paucity of research on military families, little is known about the impact of spousal/parental military service on the military family. The ability of the healthcare provider is critical to ensuring the success of the military spouse and military-connected child. Providers can support the physical and psychological health needs of military families through (1) identification of military family members in clinical practice and (2) providing culturally competent care that correlates the unique lifestyle and physical and psychological health exposures associated with spousal/parental military service. Historically, in the United States, there has been a proud legacy of generational military service in families—upwards of 80% of new recruits have a family member who has served in the military. The leading factor associated with retention of the service member on Active Duty or in the Reserve or National Guard is the satisfaction of the at-home spouse. Disenfranchising the military spouse and lack of services and support for military-connected children could create a gap in meeting recruitment goals creating a threat to national security in the United States.

  • health policy
  • paediatrics
  • primary care
  • psychiatry

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  • Contributors All authors were equal contributors in the planning, development and writing of this manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.