Arkansas Professor Receives Federal Grant to Help Military Families

FAYETTEVILLE -- Military families are gaining some help from a University of Arkansas professor.

A team of researchers led by psychology professor Tim Cavell received a $1.3 million grant to develop new ways to help students handling the anxiety of having a close relative deployed in combat.

The grant was given by the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences and will be awarded over a four-year period. The researchers will use the funds to develop and implement a system for schools, helping them offer mentoring to students with close relatives in active service.

The research will specifically target identifying and supporting students experiencing deployment-related stress.  The anxiety produced from having deployed family members makes it difficult for children to focus on learning and can often lead to behavior issues.

Military service members and families are known for being highly resilient, but the wear and tear of combat deployment can exceed a family's capacity to cope," wrote Cavell in his grant proposal.

The research aims to help students with deployed parents through school-based mentoring - curving absenteeism and misconduct, while promoting healthy relationships and academic performance.

Cavell wrote that to successfully serve military students, school district personnel must dedicate resources to establish a network at each school that connects military parents, school staff, community organizations and local mentoring agencies.

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