Research behind ADAPT

The ADAPT research team, led by Dr. Abigail Gewirtz, has tested the effectiveness of the ADAPT program with hundreds of National Guard and Reserve families in Minnesota. The team has published a significant body of work on the topic and continues to investigate how the program can improve the lives of military families.

Key findings thus far

  • PTSD symptoms play a significant role in the post-deployment period for National Guard and Reserve families, negatively impacting parenting behaviors and child adjustment
  • Compared to the control group, families who participated in the ADAPT intervention showed
    • improved observed parenting
    • improved self-efficacy (feeling more able to positively influence their children’s behavior) among parents
    • reductions in children’s behavior, emotional problems, and peer problems
  • Improvements in self-efficacy of parents as a result of the program led to reductions in
    • depression
    • PTSD symptoms
    • thoughts of suicide


  • Parents reported high satisfaction for all sessions of the program
  • Mothers and fathers were equally likely to attend in-person groups; mothers were more likely to access online content
  • When facilitators had a military background, parents were more likely to engage with the program
  • Parents who attended at least 3 sessions tended to complete most of the program


  • 336 families with at least 1 deployed parent to Iraq/Afghanistan since 2001
  • Army National Guard (59%); Air National Guard (10.7%); Army (12.9%); Navy (6.6%); Air Force (2.8%); Marine Reserves (0.3%)
  • 95% had a deployed father; 18% had a deployed mother; 13% had two parents deployed
  • 51% of parents deployed more than once; 58% deployed more than one year
  • PTSD: 16% of fathers and 6% of mothers reported clinical level PTSD symptoms
  • Suicidality: 7% of fathers and 2% of mothers reported suicidal ideation
  • Average:
    • Age of parents: 36.5
    • Age of children: 7.5
    • # of children: 2.3

Continued research

ADAPT4U: This study with 360 military families in Minnesota and Michigan compares the effectiveness of three different delivery formats for ADAPT: in-person groups, telehealth (video conferencing), and through an online video curriculum. The study is funded by the U.S. Department of Defense. It runs through June 2020.

ADAPT for active duty (SMART trial): Using an innovative study design known as SMART (sequential, multiple assignment, randomized trial), this study with 525 active duty military families uses personalization techniques to test multiple formats, “doses” and sequences of the ADAPT program.