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BACKGROUND: Little is known about the social and emotional well-being of children whose fathers have been deployed to the conflicts in Iraq/Afghanistan or who have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).AimsTo examine the emotional and behavioural well-being of children whose fathers are or have been in the UK armed forces, in particular the effects of paternal deployment to the conflicts in Iraq or Afghanistan and paternal PTSD. METHOD: Fathers who had taken part in a large tri-service cohort and had children aged 3-16 years were asked about the emotional and behavioural well-being of their child(ren) and assessed for symptoms of PTSD via online questionnaires and telephone interview. RESULTS: In total, 621 (67%) fathers participated, providing data on 1044 children. Paternal deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan was not associated with childhood emotional and behavioural difficulties. Paternal probable PTSD were associated with child hyperactivity. This finding was limited to boys and those under 11 years of age. CONCLUSIONS: This study showed that adverse childhood emotional and behavioural well-being was not associated with paternal deployment but was associated with paternal probable PTSD.Declaration of interestN.T.F. is a trustee of the Warrior Programme, a charity supporting ex-service personnel and their families. She is also a member of the Independent Group Advising on the Release of Data (IGARD). S.W. is a trustee of Combat Stress, a charity supporting ex-service personnel and their families, and President of the Royal Society of Medicine. S.W. is partially funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit (NIHR HPRU) in Emergency Preparedness and Response at King's College London in partnership with Public Health England (PHE), in collaboration with the University of East Anglia and Newcastle University.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Psychiatry

Publication Date





347 - 355


Adolescent, Adult, Adverse Childhood Experiences, Afghan Campaign 2001-, Age Factors, Behavioral Symptoms, Child, Child, Preschool, Fathers, Humans, Iraq War, 2003-2011, Military Personnel, Sex Factors, Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic, United Kingdom