Transition and change are hallmarks of life in military families, and youth and their families continually navigate and negotiate the demands related to military service. In the face of challenges, military families demonstrate remarkable coping and resilience. Family science researchers at The University of Georgia have conducted two recent studies of military families, one an examination of over 1000 adolescents ages 11-18, and the other of 273 families (parents and a total of 389 adolescents 11-18 years old). Not only do these data speak to the well-being of youth but also to family contexts in which youth develop. Moreover, the role that youth development programs have in the lives of youth are examined. The core research questions are: What vulnerabilities do youth and their families experience? Do youth development programs make a difference in positive ways? Which dimensions of family life are significant for youth well-being? What everyday life elements serve as protective factors in youths’ lives? These research findings are then pivoted toward implications for development of prevention and intervention programs for youth and for their families.
Jay A. Mancini and Catherine W. O’Neal**, Family and Community Resilience Laboratory, Department of Human Development and Family Science, The University of Georgia
*This research is supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture through the University of Georgia under special project number 2009-48680-06069.
**Jay A. Mancini is Haltiwanger Distinguished Professor of Human Development and Family Science, and Catherine W. O’Neal is Post-Doctoral Research Fellow.
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