New study to look at bereavement in mil families
Published: October 11, 2011
WASHINGTON —There is always a staggering amount of studies being done on war, down to the last bit of minutiae, but apparently no one has ever looked at bereavement in military families.
So the Center for Study of Traumatic Stress has launched a five-year study of thousands of military families who have lost someone since 9/11. Since many servicemembers are so young, the study will include their parents.
It will look at what might be different about a military family’s grief compared with the civilian population. The researchers think there are unique elements to a military family’s experience that would affect the bereavement itself and the recovery. For example, a combat death often arises after long periods of separation from the family, “which can have its own impact,” according to Stephen Cozza, a head researcher on the study.
However studies specifically on children show that for them it doesn’t matter how their family member died, their grief is the same. They’ve found preliminarily that a combat death doesn’t lead to any heightened grief in children, Cozza said.
The study won’t be all questions about how the bereaved feel. Researchers also will be asking if families are willing to “spit in a tube” so their saliva can be analyzed for biomarkers.