Predictors of Resilience in Adolescents from Canadian Military Families: The Role of Individual and Family Characteristics

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 17:30
Oral Presentation
Amanda BULLOCK, Department of National Defence, Canada
Alla SKOMOROVSKY, Department of National Defence, Canada
Recent research suggests that aspects of the military lifestyle, such as deployment and relocation, may be challenging for some adolescents but not for others. However the specific characteristics that help adolescents from military families overcome and positively adapt to these challenges are understudied. Accordingly, the objective of the present study was to examine various the individual and family characteristics that influence the resilience of adolescents from Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) families. Surveys were sent via mail to 3000 Regular Force CAF families with an adolescent between 14 – 19 years of age. In total, responses were received from N = 194 adolescents (77 boys, 117 girls) (Mage = 16.55, SD = 1.69) from families in the Regular Force CAF. Adolescents reported on demographic characteristics as well as their attitudes and emotional reactions to deployment and relocation, parent–child relationships, peer relationships, coping strategies, self-esteem, and resilience. Individual-level characteristics were grouped into demographic factors (age, gender) and psychological factors (emotional reaction towards deployment, attitudes towards relocation, coping strategies, and self-esteem). Family-level characteristics included parent–child relationships and peer relationships. Results from a hierarchical multiple regression analysis revealed that psychological characteristics predicted adolescents’ resilience at the individual-level. Specifically, adolescents’ emotional reactions towards deployment, attitudes towards relocation, and avoidant coping negatively predicted adolescents’ resilience. Further, problem-focused coping, emotion-focused coping, and self-esteem positively predicted adolescents’ resilience. At the family-level, positive parent–child relationships and peer relationships predicted greater resilience. Taken together, these findings are useful for military family service providers in order to develop appropriate prevention and intervention efforts to facilitate the resilience of adolescents from military families.