How National Guard and Reserve Families Fare


In general, National Guard and Reserve families have less experience with the long and multiple deployments they now face, they are unfamiliar with military culture, and they often suffer from lack of connection to military family supports.

  • Reserve families are often isolated. Research shows that living on base is linked to reduced difficulties both during and after deployment.[i] Yet Reserve and National Guard families live far from military installations and facilities; they also may be isolated from their units’ other family members.[ii]
  • Reserve families face difficult transitions to active duty. These families face many challenges during mobilization: transitioning to military health coverage, learning about military family benefits, resolving issues with civilian employers, and finding affordable child care. [iii]
  • Children in Reserve and National Guard families face unfamiliar stresses. Researchers suggest that Reserve and National Guard adolescents experience stress beyond their limited coping resources because extended deployments were previously uncommon for their families.[iv]
  • Children in Reserve and National Guard families also have more difficulties because their teachers less likely to know or understand their issues.
  • Reserve and National Guard spouses with children often have difficulty working full-time while also filling the role as single parents, and some spouses incur additional child care costs to allow them to continue working.[v]
  • Reserve service members may face difficulties transitioning from active duty to their civilian jobs and lives compared to most active duty service members, who continue to work in military settings after deployment.[vi]

[i] Anita Chandra, DrPH; Sandrulaz Lara-Cinisomo, PhD; Lisa H. Jaycox, PhD; Terri Tanielian, MA; Rachel M. Burns, MPH; Teague Ruder, MA; Bing Han, PhD. “Children on the Homefront: The Experience of Children from Military Families.” Pediatrics, 125 (2010): 16-25

[ii] Ibid.
[iii] Booth, B. et al. (2007). What We Know about Army Families: 2007 Update. Caliber. Prepared for the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command of the U.S. Army.
[iv] Angela Huebner, Jay Mancini, Ryan Wilcox, Saralyn Grass, and Gabriel Grass. “ Parental Deployment and Youth in Military Families: Exploring Uncertainty and Ambiguous Loss.” Family Relations, 56(2007), 112-122
[v] Ibid.
[vi] Ibid.