Perception of Military Family Programming: The Need for Formal and Informal Support Network Integration

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Rebecca Overmyer-Velazquez


Military families face unique situations and stressors that significantly impact their daily life. Stressors include deployment, lack of community. Integration, and disruption of relationships with family, friends and community. These factors are experienced almost universally across all military families. This research aims to illustrate how informal and formal support networks can aid military families in dealing with and mitigating stressors that come with military life. The research also shows the importance of the integration of both support networks in order to offer families the most holistic support system possible. Literature on military family support networks focuses on stressors and what can be done to mitigate them. However, information on an integrated support framework is lacking. A survey was conducted to understand how military families understand their support systems. Respondents found the most necessary form of support to be mental health care and the most appreciated form of support to be the VA home loan. Data also showed that physical medicine and veteran support were among the top support systems that needed improvement from the military family member's perspective. The most significant finding showed that most respondents did not believe there was a strong relationship between informal and formal support, however they do feel as though the relationship is important to community and family well-being. Future research needs to focus on building the relationship between support networks so that families are able to feel support from all sides of the coin.


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