(UK) Military Family Children & the Impact of PTSD

Research Paper Title

Exploring the impact of parental post-traumatic stress disorder on military family children: A review of the literature.


The number of UK service personnel who have a diagnosis of PTSD is unclear, but there has been a recent increase in referrals to services for PTSD symptomology. It is imperative to understand the impact this may have on the children of affected service families. This review of literature aimed to explore and provide insight into the experiences of services children whose parent has a diagnosis of PTSD.


A comprehensive review of the literature. Online databases CINAHL, MEDLINE, psychARTICLES, The Psychology and Behavioural Sciences Collection and PILOTS were searched.

The studies were chosen in keeping with a specified inclusion and exclusion criteria. The literature was critically analysed and key themes identified through the strategy of thematic analysis.


Five studies met the inclusion criteria. Three key themes were identified from the five articles:

  • Secondary traumatisation;
  • Impact on the child’s mental health; and
  • Impact on the child’s adult relationships.


The findings highlighted the prevalence of secondary traumatisation and a potential negative impact on the child’s mental health and relationships. However, literature used in the review was conducted in countries outside of the UK, therefore the comparison of results may be compromised. This review identifies the paucity of research on this topic and highlights the need for UK based research to be carried out in this area.


King, N. & Smith, A. (2016) Exploring the Impact of Parental Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder on Military Family Children: A Review of the Literature. Nurse Education Today. 47, pp.29-36. doi: 10.1016/j.nedt.2016.04.018. Epub 2016 Apr 30.


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