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Major New Study: This War Taking Heavy Toll on Military Kids

A new study of more than a half-million military children whose results were released today confirms what most military families already know: this war, which has seen long, multiple deployments and a shockingly high percentage of psychological problems among its returning warriors, is taking a very heavy mental and behavioral toll on America's military kids.

According to the study from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences released today and published in the December issue of Pediatrics, children of active-duty military personnel ages 3 to 8 make 18 percent more trips to the doctor for behavioral problems and 19 percent more visits for stress disorders when a military parent is deployed compared with when the parent is home. Stressors include frequent moves, prolonged parent absences, and of course the fear of a parent's death. Curiously, the overall number of doctors' visits declined 11 percent during deployment, perhaps because the remaining parent at home was too busy, say the study's authors, who analyzed medical records of nearly 643,000 children and 443,000 parents from 2006 to 2007.

Of the study, Rachel Forsythe writes

Notes Liz Szabo in USA Today: