The longer U.S. soldiers were deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan, the more likely their children would be diagnosed with mental health problems, according to a newly published study.
The study, published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, analyzed medical records of 307,520 children of active-duty Army personnel, aged 5 to 17 years old. It found almost 17 percent of them exhibited mental health problems.
"Children of parents who spent more time deployed between 2003 and 2006 fared worse than children whose parents were deployed for a shorter duration," the study's researchers wrote.
The children whose parents deployed at least once, for an average of 11 months, as part of the U.S. Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan were especially likely to suffer from adjustment, behavioral, depressive or stress disorders than those whose parents never went to war, the study found.
Boys were more likely to have mental health problems than girls, according to the report, which reviewed records for patients cared for at military medical facilities and at civilian facilities using military medical insurance.