The psychosocial well-being of children from Australian military and fly-in/fly-out (FIFO) mining families
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Psychology and Social Science
This study investigates the effects of employment-related father absence on children's psychological well-being and home based mothers’ perceptions of family functioning. Ninety primary school aged children and their mothers residing in Perth in Western Australia participated in this study. The sample consisted of three groups: children whose fathers were employed in fly-in/fly-out (FIFO) mining (n =30), children whose fathers were in the military (n =30) and a community sample (n =30) of children, whose fathers’ employment was not military or mining based and who did not have extended periods of absence from home. Children's psychosocial well-being was measured by the Children's Depression Inventory (CDI) and Revised Children's Manifest Anxiety Scale (RCMAS). Children's and mothers’ perceptions of family function were assessed with the Family Assessment Device (FAD). Results indicated that there were no significant differences between the groups on all measures of child well-being, and all groups were functioning at healthy levels. However, mothers from the FIFO families reported significantly more stress than the military and community groups with respect to communication, support and behaviour control within the family. It was concluded that despite mothers’ perceptions of disruption to family routine, the well-being of children in this small sample was not affected.