The influx of females into the military in recent years has drawn increasing attention to the impact of extended and often repeated deployments on parent-child attachment. The challenges associated with deployment may be particularly taxing on young children due to their emotional and cognitive immaturity, lack of coping skills and dependence on their caregivers for daily functioning. While children’s reaction to parental deployment varies by age, the longer and more frequently a parent is deployed, the greater the psychological, health and behavioral risk for the child. These adjustments can be complicated when mothers suffer psychological distress related to combat exposure, military sexual trauma, increasing their risk of suffering from symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression. These adjustment and mental health issues, in combination with prolonged separation, will all complicate the reestablishment of a secure attachment bond with their children. This manual seeks to provide clinicians with a comprehensive overview of the unique deployment-related stressors of female veterans, and their impact on mental health and reintegration. With a focus on the parent-child relationship, this manual will utilize attachment theory as the foundation to understand how the change, disruption, stress and loss experienced during deployment affects young children and their mothers. Moreover, this manual discusses mindfulness-based treatment interventions and practical tools to guide clinicians in aiding female veterans to prepare their children for deployment, cope with deployment, and reestablish the attachment bond upon returning home.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (PsyD) -- Psychology; Women veterans -- United States -- Psychology; Children of veterans -- Psychology; Post-traumatic stress disorder -- Treatment

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Cozolino, Louis;