The study team gathered information from family members about many topics centered around their loss: feelings of depression, anxiety, grief, ways of coping, employment history, relationship with the military, posttraumatic growth, resilience, and other areas. Family members were recruited to participate in various ways: online questionnaires, interviews and focus groups.
2,257 adult family members have completed the online questionnaire. 983 participants, including 121 children, enrolled in the longitudinal portion of the study in which we conducted interviews with families once a year for three years. 474 participants completed the longitudinal portion of the study.
We also held 39 focus groups (10 parents, 10 spouses, 10 siblings, 9 children) to investigate how the death of a service member in a family can affect relationships. We asked questions about family, community, military and whether participants created and maintained continuing bonds with their service member.
Finally, saliva samples were collected to determine whether differences in grief response may be due to biological (e.g., genetic) factors that are either protective (help individuals recover more easily) or put an individual at risk. 979 adult and 29 child participants provided a saliva sample.