Catholic University of Portugal, Portugal

Military families deal with specific demands associated with the military professional context, and children are particularly affected by their parents' participation in international missions. Research about these families will allow the development of appropriate prevention and intervention strategies for these children and adolescents. The first direct experiences of military culture often occur through the attendance of military schools (MS), most of them in boarding school. The first paper attempts to understand the impact that the frequency of MES may have on the psychological and emotional wellbeing of these adolescents (n=347), comparing them with adolescents from non-military schools (NMS; n=370). Results show higher levels of anxiety-depressive symptomatology in adolescents who attend MS. Multiple linear regressions confirm that, along with low self-esteem and body image dissatisfaction, attending a MS predicts anxious-depressive symptomatology for both boys and girls. The following three papers focus on the impact on children of the military parent's participation in an international mission, through qualitative and exploratory studies. Interviews with a sample of 22 children and adolescents of military parents showed that the coping strategies more used during the deployment phase were the search for support and problem solving. Peers, families and the school community were considered essential elements throughout mission. Interestingly, all the experience was viewed as increasing responsibility on family and leading to personal growth. Then, we explore the impact of these kinds of missions on parenting with mothers (N=9) of military families. The main changes in family functioning appear related to the deployment phase, reflecting on the management of responsibilities, the parent-child relationship and the involvement of the military father on routines. Because the school emerged as an important resource, the last paper intended to know how the school community could promote a positive adjustment of these children. Nine students and eight teachers (N=17) pointed out to the importance of joint efforts between school, parents and the Applied Psychology Center of the Army.

Rita Francisco has an Honours degree and a PhD in Psychology (specialization in Family Psychology), from the University of Lisbon. She is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Human Sciences, where she teaches at the undergraduate program in Psychology, and in various graduate programs: Postgraduate program in Family Mediation, Masters in Family Sciences and Masters in Psychology of Wellbeing and Health Promotion. She is currently a member of the coordination boards of these programs. She has extensive experience supervising academic internships, masters and doctoral programs in the areas of Clinical Psychology and Family Psychology, at the Faculty of Psychology, University of Lisbon, where she has taught for several years. She is a full researcher at Centro de Investigação em Ciência Psicológica [Research Centre for Psychological Science] of the University of Lisbon. Her current research interests focus on various topics such as eating disorders, wellbeing and adjustment of adolescents in different social situations (e.g., divorce, economic crisis), military families, and on the impact of new technologies on family functioning. She has published in these areas in national and international peer reviewed journals and book chapters. She has clinical experience in the contexts of individual and family therapy with adolescents and adults.



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