CF Families

The State of Military Family Research

According to a recent article published by the Vanier Institute, healthcare professional associations are taking a much more active role in researching the health needs and issues of military families in an attempt to better serve military members and families.

The study, originally published in the Journal of Military, Veteran, and Family Health, notes that in the past few decades research surrounding this portion of the population has significantly improved.

“Although Canadian military family research has been ongoing for approximately 25 years, efforts to develop this body of research were, until recently, hampered by the lack of funding for civilian research and the infrastructure to support collaboration. This has recently changed via the networks established through the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research. At present, research involving present-day military families focuses overwhelmingly on the US experience. In recent years, this literature has paid greater attention to understanding how military life affects families and how resilience can be enhanced within military families,” states the report “The Current State of Military Family Research.”

The article notes that though research has increased, a significant portion of the current research in the context of U.S. military families. However, Canadian military families face different challenges when it comes to healthcare and schooling compared to their American counterparts.

“To ensure that the spouses and partners of military members and the almost 64,100 Canadian children growing up in military families enjoy the same levels of health as their civilian counterparts, it is critical that unique health issues and needs be carefully defined and understood in a Canadian context. Although clarifying these needs is critical, research must also explore the knowledge and skills that educators, health care practitioners, and community partners require to effectively engage and support military families and ultimately create the foundation for evidence-informed interventions and programming,” adds the report.

After its original publication, the article was picked up by the Vanier Institute, “as it offers a synthesis of the ‘state of the nation’ for military and veteran family health research in Canada,” according to Heidi Cramm, co-author of the article.

“The excerpt of our article, that Vanier put out, is a great example of collaboration and the excellent work they do at getting the word out to families, programs, agencies, and other decision-makers,” said Cramm, a professor at Queen’s University in the School of Rehabilitation Therapy.

Cramm hopes that the publication will guide research and policy for institutions in the future.

“We hope that, by describing what we currently know and identifying what the priorities for next steps, we hope that it can help map out future research and generate interest from other researchers, as well as get the message out to military families that their voice in research is critical,” added Cramm.

A Facebook page was recently launched to keep military families up-to-date on the latest research while providing them a platform to voice their opinions. Visit the Military and Veteran Family Health Research Facebook page.

To access the study visit the Vanier Institute’s website.


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Mishall Rehman

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mishall is a freelance journalist pursuing her passion for writing in her new homeland Canada. She currently lives in Trenton, ON with her husband.

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Canadian Military Family Magazine