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“Tell Me A Story®”: Promoting Resiliency in Military Children

Multiple and lengthy deployments of military members are common and negatively impact children’s well-being. Programs seek to increase resiliency and reduce potential negative impact of parental deployment on children exist but lack empirical evidence to support their effectiveness. Increased parent engagement through reading and subsequent discussion with their children has positive psychology implications and potential to improve resilience. Thus, this study’s purpose was to examine the effectiveness of the intervention Tell Me A Story® (TMAS) in improving resiliency in school-age children (aged 6 to 10 years) of active duty military members. This study also aims to examine the impact of the TMAS intervention on both behavior and resilience to better understand both what the intervention impacts and the potential of increased resilience to positively impact behavior. Participants were recruited from seven military installations and one mass email from MCEC. This study used pre-post quasi-experimental design with waitlist controls to evaluate effectiveness of TMAS to increase resiliency behaviors in military children via an internet survey. Baseline data was obtained, including demographic, resiliency, health, literacy environment, and behavior instruments. Children in the intervention group improved resiliency scores, whereas children in the control group did not. Children in the control group had reduced ego-resiliency scores, and this reduction was much greater for boys than for girls. Different from ego-resiliency results, resiliency scores for girls increased, while boys’ scores decreased. Boys internalizing behavior increased in the control group and decreased in the intervention group. Contrary to expected findings, internalizing behavior decreased for control group girls while intervention group girls increased. Externalizing scores for boys increased, while girls scores decreased. Intervention group boys and girls increased externalizing scores. Control group girls decreased scores, while boys increased. Overall high resiliency decreased internalizing behavior. High resiliency decreased internalizing in both intervention and control groups. Resiliency improves with TMAS. The greater resilience, the less internalizing behavior. Resiliency outcomes were better predictors of problem behavior than TMAS. Gender differences indicate boys may benefit from TMAS more than girls. TMAS increases resiliency and decreases problem behavior for the analyzed sample. Further research needed to determine TMAS effectiveness with general population.
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