Australian Defence Force servicewomen with dependant children who served in the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO) found their experience of deployment positive and self-validating, according to research released today by Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Stuart Robert, and Assistant Minister for Defence, Darren Chester.
Minister Robert said prior to the Mothers in the MEAO research, very little was known about the impact of deployment on servicewomen with dependant children.
“The study found that while there are particular challenges, mothers are at no greater risk of psychological or physical disorders than those women without dependant children,” Mr Robert said.
The University of Adelaide study, commissioned by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, followed the deployment of around 3,000 women to the MEAO between 2001 and 2009.
Minister Chester said servicewomen in the study group demonstrated a high level of resilience, enabling them to successfully coordinate their roles as mothers with their military careers.
“While the report was overall very positive, we will use the findings of this research to look at ways we can better support servicewomen to successfully combine their military career with their family responsibilities.”
Servicewomen considered several factors critical to their success in managing the competing military deployment and mother roles. These included:
- their own levels of resilience and creativity
- development of strategies that allowed them to successfully reintegrate into the family unit following deployment
- support from a significant other
- support offered through the Defence Transition Aides in Schools program
As a result of the research, the Department of Defence is developing information materials to better support mothers on overseas deployments.
The full report can be found at: http://www.dva.gov.au/consultation-and-grants/research-and-development/social-research/family-study-program.
Richard Briedis (Minister Robert’s office) 0477 391 174
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media (02) 6289 6203
Brie Colley (Minister Chester’s office) 0475 962 448
Defence Media (02) 6127 1999