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Front cover photographs,

clockwise from top-left:

• Sapper Todd Snowden from

1 Combat Engineer Regiment, is

greeted by his girlfriend Courtney

at RAAF Base Darwin, on his arrival

home from operations in East Timor.
• PTE Chris Wetherell, 2/17 Royal

NSW Regiment Sydney, with wife Lee,

daughter Madison and baby Harry

following the Timor-Leste

Task Group 3 farewell parade.
• CAPT Daniel Strack enjoys time with

his five month old son, William at the

Timor-Leste Task Group 4 family day

during pre-deployment training at

Puckapunyal.
• Commanding Officer of HMAS

Kanimbla
Commander Bannister with

his family after Operation Astute

duties in East Timor.
Images courtesy

Department of Defence.



TIMOR-LESTE FAMILY STUDY: TECHNICAL REPORT

September 2012



DIRECTOR

Professor Peter Warfe CSC



INVESTIGATORS

Dr Annabel McGuire (Chief)


Professor Annette Dobson (Associate)
Associate Professor Peter Nasveld (Associate)

RESEARCH TEAM

Dr Renee Anderson (Research Fellow)


Ms Katrina Bredhauer (Research Officer)
Mr Luke Cosgrove (Participant and System Manager)
Ms Catherine Runge (Research Officer)
Mr Michael Waller (Research Fellow, Statistician)
Ms Jeeva Kanesarajah (Research Officer, Statistics)

SUGGESTED CITATION

McGuire, A, Runge, C, Cosgrove, L, Bredhauer, K, Anderson, R, Waller, M, Kanesarajah, J, Dobson, A & Nasveld, P 2012. Timor-Leste Family Study: Technical Report. The University of Queensland, Centre for Military and Veterans’ Health, Brisbane, Australia.

Enquiries should be directed to:

Centre for Military and Veterans’ Health


The University of Queensland
Mayne Medical School
Herston Road
HERSTON QLD 4006

Phone: 07 3346 4873


Fax: 07 3346 4878
cmvh.enquiries@uq.edu.au


Contents

Acknowledgments xix

Summary xxi

1 Introduction 1

ADF operations in Timor-Leste, 1999 to 2010 1

Other ADF operations, 1999 to 2010 2

Research aims and hypotheses 3

Ethical approval 5

2 Study development 7

The literature review 7

The review of previous research 7

The development workshop 8

Qualitative research 8

The pilot study 9

3 Sample, method and response 11

Sample 11

Method 13

Response 19

Discussion 26

4 Health impacts on Timor-Leste and comparison partners 29

There were no statistically significant differences in physical, mental or family health outcomes between Timor-Leste partners and comparison partners. 29

Eighty-nine per cent of partners reported their health as excellent, very good or good. 29

About 1 per cent of partners reported drinking at risky levels, and about 12 per cent of all partners were smokers. 29

Mental health was generally reported as being in the normal range. Less than 6 per cent of partners reported themselves to be in the highest category of distress on the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale, and fewer than 5 per cent screened positively for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. 29

More than 90 per cent of families were functioning well. 29

Most partners reported high levels of feeling supported (Mean = 3.4/4), important and secure in their relationships (Mean = 3.53/4) and low levels of conflict (Mean = 1.83/4). 29

About 10 per cent of partners screened positively for intimate partner violence. 29

Introduction 29

Method 32

Results 33

Discussion 45

5 Health impacts on Timor-Leste and comparison partners’ children 49

Introduction 49

Method 51

Results 52

Discussion 57

6 The impact of deployment factors on the health of families 59

The odds of having non-balanced family functioning increased as the number of deployments a family experienced increased. 59

A statistically significantly larger proportion of children whose parent had experienced two or more deployments were reported as being in the abnormal category on the total difficulties scale of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. 59

Children from families that had experienced four or more deployments were more commonly reported for displaying low levels of prosocial behaviour. 59

More partners rated the impact of the military on their relationship as negative as the number of deployments they experienced increased. 59

There was a statistically significant relationship between the number of deployments experienced by the family and an increased likelihood of partners reporting the impact of the ADF member’s military commitments as negative for their children. 59

A statistically significantly larger proportion of children who had a parent deployed were reported as having difficulties that affected their life and their family. 60

Partners whose ADF member was deployed at the time of the survey reported slightly and statistically significantly less conflict in their relationship, compared with comparison partners. 60

Partners who rated their experience of their ADF member’s Timor-Leste deployment as negative had statistically significantly poorer physical health. 60

Partners who rated their experience of their ADF member’s Timor-Leste deployment as negative were statistically significantly more likely to have poorer mental health scores. 60

Partners who rated their experience of their ADF member’s Timor-Leste deployment as negative reported statistically significantly higher levels of conflict and lower social support when reviewing the quality of their relationship. 60

Introduction 60

Method 62

Results 63

Discussion 82

7 The impact of risk and protective factors on the health of family members 85

Partners who reported non-balanced family functioning had statistically significantly worse mental health scores. 86

Partners who reported high psychological distress were approximately three times more likely to report their family functioning as non-balanced. 86

Partners who screened positive for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder were four times more likely to report their family functioning as non-balanced. 86

Children in a family with non-balanced functioning were statistically significantly more likely to be in the at-risk range for any behavioural difficulties having an impact on their life. 86

Partners who used high emotion-focused coping were statistically significantly more likely to report lower physical health. 86

Partners who used high problem-focused coping were statistically significantly more likely to report lower physical health. 86

Partners who used high emotion-focused coping had statistically significantly poorer mental health scores than those using low emotion-focused styles. 86

Partners using high emotion-focused coping styles were statistically significantly more likely to report higher levels of psychological distress. 86

Partners using high emotion-focused coping styles were statistically significantly more likely to screen positive for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. 86

A statistically significant association was found between partners’ higher mental health scores and an improved perception of the quality of the relationship. 87

There was a statistically significant association between partners scoring in the higher psychological distress category and reporting a reduction in the perceived quality of the relationship. 87

There was a statistically significant association between partners screening positive for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and a reduction in the perceived quality of the relationship. 87

There was a statistically significant association between at-risk levels of the children’s reported total difficulties and a reduction in the perceived quality of the relationship. 87

There was a statistically significant association between partners reporting their child as having fewer prosocial behaviours and reporting less social support and more conflict in their relationship. 87

There was a statistically significant association between at-risk levels of the impact of the child’s reported behavioural difficulties and a reduction in the perceived quality of the relationship. 87

Partners who reported high support (from either family or non-family) were likely to have statistically significantly better mental health scores than partners who had low support (either from family or non-family). 87

Partners who reported high support from family were statistically significantly less likely to have high psychological distress. 87

Partners who reported high support (from either family or non-family) were statistically significantly less likely to screen positive for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. 87

Partners who reported a negative experience of Timor-Leste deployment were more likely to report a lower level of social support than those who had a positive experience of Timor-Leste deployment. This finding was most pronounced in connection with family support. 87

Children from families with medium and high family support were statistically significantly less likely to have behavioural difficulties compared with children from families who reported low family support. 87

Children from families with medium and high support from family or high support from non-family groups were statistically significantly more likely to display prosocial behaviour. 87

There was a statistically significant association between partners’ physical health and positive screens for intimate partner violence. 88

There was a statistically significant association between partners reporting higher (better) mental health scores and reporting less intimate partner violence in their relationship. 88

There was a statistically significant association between partners screening positive for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and reporting more intimate partner violence in their relationship. 88

Children from families where the partner screened positive for intimate partner violence were associated with reportedly displaying fewer prosocial behaviours. 88

Introduction 88

Method 91

Results 91

Discussion 117

8 The association between an ADF member’s health and their family’s health 121

ADF members with better physical health were statistically significantly more likely to have partners with a better view of their physical health. 121

The partners of ADF members who reported more risky or problematic drinking were statistically significantly more likely to report more risky or problematic drinking. 121

When an ADF member was experiencing high psychological distress, their partner was three times more likely to be experiencing very high psychological distress. 121

There was a strong, statistically significant relationship between the frequency and severity of symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in ADF members and such symptoms in their partner. 122

There was a clear, statistically significant relationship between ADF members’ psychological distress and partners’ problematic drinking. 122

Partners were statistically significantly more likely to report high psychological distress if their ADF member reported more risky or problematic drinking. 122

Partners were statistically significantly more likely to drink in a high range when their ADF member screened positive for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. 122

When ADF members screened positive for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder their partners were statistically significantly more likely to have high psychological distress. 122

There was a statistically significant relationship between ADF members’ alcohol use and negative outcomes for children. 122

There was a statistically significant relationship between a partner’s and their ADF member’s psychological distress and negative outcomes for children. 122

There was a clear, statistically significant relationship between the partner’s and the ADF member’s symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and negative outcomes for children. 122

Introduction 122

Method 124

Results 124

Discussion 138

9 Conclusions 141

The findings 141

Summary of research outcomes: research aim 1 150

Summary of statistically significant research outcomes: research aim 2 151

Appendix A Study administration 159

Appendix B Literature review 161

Appendix C Qualitative research summary 229

Appendix D Pilot study summary 235

Shortened forms 239

References 241







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