Methods: Secondary data from a randomized control trial of After Deployment Adaptive Parenting Tools (ADAPT), an adaptation of the Parent Management Training-Oregon Model that specifically targets parental ES, were used (Gewirtz et al., 2014). The total sample included 255 two-parent families (generally White and middle class) with at least one deployed parent and one target child (age 4-12). Supportive ES (SUP), such as encouraging children to talk about their fears, was self-reported using the Coping with Children’s Negative Emotions Scale at baseline and 1 and 2 years later. Child adjustment was assessed using parent-report on the Behavioral Assessment Scale for Children (BASC-2) at 2 year follow up. Dyadic latent growth models (LGM) were used to examine intervention effects on growth of parents’ SUP simultaneously and the impact of these changes on child adjustment at 2 years, controlling for child age, child gender, baseline child resilience, and parent deployment.
Results: Model fit indices were acceptable. Findings showed no consistent pattern of growth in parents’ SUP over the course of the study. Only the correlation between parents’ rates of growth was significant. There were no significant intervention effects on the growth of both parents’ SUP despite prior findings indicating main effects of the intervention on mothers’ ES (Zhang et al, 2018). However, mothers with younger children reported lower initial SUP, and mothers with boys increased in SUP over time. Fathers increased in SUP when parents reported poorer child adjustment at baseline.
Conclusions: Interestingly, regardless of the intervention mothers were less supportive of younger children’s emotions and increased emotional support to boys over time. Also, fathers showed more emotional support if their children showed poorer baseline adjustment. These findings suggest that more research is needed to understand the longitudinal mutual relationship between parental ES and child outcomes in military families, and that future parenting interventions may need to tailor programs depending on parents’ perceptions of child adjustment, and child’s age and gender.