Promoting Resilience in Military Families

After Deployment: Adaptive Parenting Tools/ADAPT is an adaptation of GenerationPMTO for military families that was developed in 2010 at the University of Minnesota by Dr. Abi Gewirtz and her colleagues, in collaboration with Marion Forgatch at GenerationPMTO.

ADAPT was designed to respond to the increasing stress faced by families with a parent deployed to war in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Over the last nine years, ADAPT has been conducting four randomized clinical trials with more than 1000 families in total. Two trials are complete,with findings showing ADAPT to benefit parenting practices, and parents and children’s adjustment.

ADAPT is available in multiple formats - an online version (self-directed), a parent group version, a workshop version, and an individual telehealth format. Each format is being compared in a randomized trial. Originally developed for National Guard and Reserve families, ADAPT is now being implemented with active duty families in bases around the USA.

ADAPT has been designated a promising practice by the Penn State Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness.

As a trauma-informed intervention, ADAPT helps parents dealing with the aftermath of combat and war exposure with lots of practice regulating emotions using mindfulness exercises, as well as strategies to help nurture their children’s effective emotional expression and regulation (emotion coaching).

How is ADAPT different from GenerationPMTO?

ADAPT retains all the core GenerationPMTO components: positive involvement, teaching through encouragement, effective discipline, problem-solving and monitoring, but adds program components focused on mindfulness and emotion coaching.

Results of the original randomized trial with 336 families showed that moms who practiced mindfulness skills showed increases in dispositional mindfulness at the end of the ADAPT intervention.

Most dads benefited, too: dads high in avoidance symptoms randomized to the ADAPT intervention (compared with a control group) showed significant improvements in emotional parenting skills that lasted at least 18 months after the intervention ended.

What’s next for ADAPT?

The ADAPT team, in collaboration with military partners, is planning for large scale implementation of ADAPT with both Reserve and Active component families on and off installations.

Want to learn more?

Check out the following videos and the ADAPT website: