Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Learning Sciences

Committee Chair/Advisor

Faiza Jamil, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Edmond Bowers, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Matthew Madison, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Luke Rapa, Ph.D.


Military-connected children experience frequent disruptions to their daily lives as a result of military lifestyle demands like frequent relocations and service-related separations from their service member parent. These disruptions impact all areas of their lives including their homes and schools. While the body of research concerning military-connected children’s experiences at school has grown over recent decades, little is known about specific individual and contextual factors that may serve as assets or constraints. Knowing more about specific factors that influence school experiences for military-connected youth is a critical step in promoting and scaling home- and school-based interventions.

This three-paper dissertation begins by situating extant literature into Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological systems theory framework to provide a model for conceptualizing the numerous factors directly and indirectly influencing the school experiences of military-connected students. Next, it explores patterns in individual survey responses from military-connected parents to identify relationships between demographic variables, military lifestyle demands, and parent-school satisfaction. Finally, the dissertation uses a positive youth development framework to examine the school experiences of military-connected teens through focus group discussions with teens, their parents, and their teachers. Taken together, these pieces help to provide a cohesive framework and updated foundation for understanding the school experiences of military-connected children.

The results of this dissertation highlight the strengths of military-connected students and families and the immense opportunities all stakeholders have to support them and address their evolving needs. The findings for all three papers provide necessary insight for understanding the military-connected student’s experience and intentionally leveraging new and existing resources to meet their needs.

Author ORCID Identifier




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