Lexi Forsyth

Date Approved


Date Posted


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School


First Advisor

Heather C. Janisse

Second Advisor

Natalie Dove


The role parents play in children's lives has consistently been shown to affect how they engage in relationships in adulthood, though these findings have been inconclusive with regard to military children. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to gain a better understanding of adult attachment among those who had a parent in the military during their childhood as compared to those who did not. The current study asked college students to retrospectively reflect on their own childhood responses to parental deployment or separation. This allowed for an examination of the child's own perception of the deployment and the effects that having military parents may have had on the child's attachment style in adulthood. A survey was administered to 96 students on Eastern Michigan University's campus that included questions assessing the individual's childhood relationship with their mother and father and their current relationship experiences in adulthood and separation anxiety. A subset of the total sample (n = 25) reported that they had a parent in the military. Results revealed significant links between parental time away, parental care and control, relationship security, attachment and avoidance in adulthood and separation anxiety in both childhood and adulthood across all participants. The primary conclusion of the study was that, regardless of whether a parent is in the military, having a caring parent at home is most predictive of positive outcomes for the child.