Preliminary Life-Course Perspective Research on Adult Children in Military Families

  • Dr. Christian Vaccaro developed a project titled “Preliminary Life-Course Perspective Research on Adult Children in Military Families” for NIH funding consideration. The application associated with this project is currently undergoing revision and will be resubmitted in June 2016. The proposed R21 exploratory study, ethnographic in approach, has five specific aims: (1) determine whether OIF/OEF operations serve as a turning point in life-course transitions of adult children of OIF/OEF veterans, (2) examine factors related to deployment and reintegration to (3) identify those of significance in OIF/OEF families that impact life-course trajectories of children in early adulthood and articulate (4) their relationship as social processes which (5) will be used to inform future, non-exploratory research.

    The project proposes to utilize the sociological life-course perspective which focuses on life transitions and their disruption in relation to social events. To date, no such study using the life-course perspective on adult children of OIF/OEF veterans exists, despite its potential to illuminate the interpersonal relationships, institutional factors, and events that have bearing on the orderliness of transitions through distinct life-stages and social roles. Knowledge of how reintegration and deployment alters adult children’s life-course transitions in early cohorts may inform us of problems for future cohorts, which can lead to innovations in psychological, behavioral, and public health interventions.

    To accomplish the specified aims, the research team intends to collect interview and observational data from veteran families in the state of Pennsylvania that have at least one adult child (18 years or older). Pennsylvania was chosen as the study state for convenience and because of its geographical size, cultural and religious diversity, variation in population density, and demographic characteristics as well as the varied access to veteran health services. Interviews will be conducted with a sample of veterans (N=50) and adult children (N=50) in addition to 100 hours of observational data of a diverse set of interactions of veteran families with adult children. Interview and observational data will be transcribed in whole, independently coded and verified for reliability, and analyzed in regards to our specific aims using computer assisted qualitative research software.