International military service affects both the soldiers and their family. Increased worrying and the absence of one parent can turn familiar roles and behaviours upside-down. It is therefore important to support the entire family.

A systematic review looking at the consequences of deployment for the soldier, the partner at home and the children reported the following challenges as most frequent:

For the deployed:

  • Before deployment: Concern about their own and the family’s safety
  • During deployment: Missing and worrying about the family
  • After returning home: Relationships problems, break-ups and adjustment problems

For the partner at home:

  • Before deployment: Worries and a sense of unpredictability
  • During deployment: Emotional challenges, desire for information and contact with the deployed. Challenges related to children’s reactions, everyday life and participation in the work force

For the children:

  • Before deployment: Emotional reactions, need for predictability
  • During deployment: Parents report various degrees of negative emotional reaction, but this is an area with large variations: An international literature review did not find any differences in problems between children of deployed parents compared to children of non-deployed parents.