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Helping military families improve wellness, communication

First cohort of Adaptive Parenting Program graduates from ASU


Group of people posing with certificate from the ADAPT program.

The first cohort of members from the Arizona National Guard completed the Adaptive Parenting Program (ADAPT) group training provided by the ASU REACH Institute. Pictured: Gilbert Valdez (second from right) and ADAPT facilitators. Photo courtesy the ASU REACH Institute

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January 13, 2023

In the U.S., over 25% of military members and veterans report experiencing acute stress, depression or PTSD, conditions that can also weigh heavy on their families. At Arizona State University, the Adaptive Parenting Program (ADAPT) is working to address the issue.

Facilitated by the ASU REACH Institute, the program provides training to parents who are veterans and members of the military, giving them tools to be their children’s best teachers, reduce stressors and improve family and individual wellness.

This past December, the first cohort of members from the Arizona National Guard completed training.

"I learned a lot of ideas, plans and steps to better help my daughters. I am glad that I decided to take this class and grow. Now, my girls and I are able to talk and work better together," said Gilbert Valdez, a graduate of the program.

The ADAPT program, based on the research of Foundation Professor Abigail Gewirtz, is an evidence-based parenting model that emphasizes communication strategies and coping skills in order to improve family relationships and reintegration for military families after deployment.

Research results show that ADAPT significantly improves parenting and parents’ confidence. In addition, children have shown improved behavior and emotional adjustment, and parents report reduced depression, PTSD and suicidal tendencies.

“It is a significant milestone for the REACH institute to have an evidence-based program integrated so heavily into the military’s efforts to help service members and their families, especially right in ASU’s backyard with the Arizona National Guard,” said Amy Majerle, a senior program manager and ADAPT trainer in the Department of Psychology.

Majerle co-led the group of military and family support personnel through the program, including group exercise facilitation. The military personnel then returned to their units and served as ADAPT facilitators for their respective groups.

Following the in-person training in the spring of 2022, ADAPT staff worked alongside Arizona National Guard personnel to support and help meet the needs of service members and their families.

“This collaboration is a key component to the success of the program's implementation,” said Majerle. “The addition of ADAPT to the National Guard’s suite of programs allowed them to bring on a program manager to provide strategic guidance and continuity for implementations like this.”

Access to ADAPT is open to all branches of service throughout Arizona. The Arizona National Guard is expanding its offerings, not only to those actively serving but also to the broader veteran community, including caretakers of service members' children.

“The three ways to access the curriculum allow the unique needs of the military and veteran community to be more conveniently met,” said Jessica Morel, the family life and community outreach program manager for the Arizona National Guard.

At the end of February, staff from the REACH Institute will provide staff from the Arizona National Guard with additional training, allowing them to offer families multiple modalities of the program, including group, online and a one-on-one format called ADAPTLite.

“We are really excited about the ADAPT program and our ability to have it available to our service members, veterans and caretakers of service members' children throughout Arizona,” Morel said.

“These resources strengthen our families and the overall well-being of our community. We look forward to the continued collaboration between ASU and the Arizona National Guard and the success of the ADAPT program."

Learn how to get started with ADAPT as a family or as an organization.

Additionally, if you are interested in learning more or signing up for the ADAPT program as part of the Arizona National Guard, contact Morel at adapt@army.mil.

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