Category Archives: network literacy

The Impact of Psychological Maltreatment

By Jay Morse & Heidi Radunovich

What is psychological maltreatment?

Hard To Stop Crying…, Peter Käuflin, Flickr, 2011


The term psychological maltreatment (PM) includes both emotional abuse and emotional neglect, and can represent a diminished attachment between the caregiver and the child, resulting in a lack of development in essential capacities such as self-regulation or self-acceptance. PM is different from dysfunctional parenting, which may be characterized by inconsistent or chaotic parenting. PM represents a chronic, escalating pattern of emotional abuse and neglect [1]. Psychological maltreatment can be difficult to determine. As the authors point out, there is not a strong social taboo associated with emotional abuse or emotional neglect and therefore it may be underreported.

Using the National Child Traumatic Stress Network Core Data Set (CDS) a sample of 5,616 children with a lifetime exposure to physical abuse, sexual abuse, or psychological maltreatment were divided into distinct categories and assessed according to PTSD, externalizing and internalizing behaviors, trauma history, and severity.

Findings from the study supported earlier research which showed that PM produced adverse outcomes in children that were the same or even more severe than the outcomes of children who had been physically or sexually abused. The researchers noted that there was some evidence that PM was the most consistent predictor of internalizing problems and the strongest indicator of substance abuse when compared with physical or sexual abuse. Indicators of PM were associated with externalizing problems at a level similar to that of physical abuse, and was even a stronger predictor than sexual abuse.

In practice, determining that PM is occurring can be challenging, but it is important not to disregard PM in assessing children and adolescents because it plays such an important role in the child’s development. As this study highlights, symptoms of PTSD, depression, generalized anxiety disorder, substance abuse, or attachment problems can be the result of emotional abuse or emotional neglect (PM), and could potentially be even more damaging to child development than physical or sexual abuse.


[1]Spinazzola, J., Hodgdon, H., Liang, L.J., Ford, J.D., Layne, C.M., Pynoos, R.S., Stolbach, B., & Kisiel, C. (2014). Unseen wounds: The contribution of psychological maltreatment to child and adolescent mental health and risk outcomes in a national sample. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 6(Suppl 1), S18-S28.

This post was written by Jay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhD, members of the MFLN Family Development (FD) team which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, You Tube, and on LinkedIn.

Emotional Abuse in Military Families

Jay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhD

According to recent research by Foran, Heyman & Slep (2014) and the United States Air Force Family Advocacy Research Program [1], emotional abuse can be an early warning sign of future physical abuse. While most people can engage in some negative behavior towards their partners, this study focused on clinically significant emotional abuse (CS-EA), which the authors defined as “emotional abuse that results in significant and impairing fear, stress, or sadness/depression” [1]. The authors wanted to determine what environmental factors were associated with CS-EA.

First Army Division East soldiers help Habitat for Humanity with clean-up efforts, DVIDS, 2012

The study used a sample of 42,744 active duty military (34,713 men and 8,031 women) and 17,226 civilian spouses (879 men and 16,347 women) who completed web-based surveys measuring environmental factors across four levels:

  • Individual level: Self-efficacy (ability to cope with stress, manage work and family demands), perceived financial stress, physical well-being, alcohol problems, and years in the military
  • Family level: Support from spouse, relationship satisfaction, family income, marriage length, and number of children, spousal deployment support
  • Work level: Support from leadership, workgroup cohesion, work relationships, weeks deployed, hours worked, and satisfaction with the Air Force
  • Community level – Community cohesion, support from neighbors, formal agencies, social support, community safety, and community stressors.

As expected, individual and family factors were closely related to CS-EA. In addition, other important factors to consider in clinical practice and further research are a subset of work and community factors:

  • Greater community cohesion and support from neighbors was related to reduced risk of CS-EA for active duty military men
  • Fewer hours worked was related to a reduced risk of CS-EA for women
  • Across all levels, more support from leadership was related to lower levels of risk for CS-EA in civilian women.

When developing treatment plans for victims of emotional abuse, the environment of the victim and the perpetrator play an important role in the risk of continued emotional abuse and the risk of future physical abuse. Pay special attention to neighborhood relationships, perceived community cohesion, workload, and the perceived level of support from military leadership.


[1] Foran, H., Heyman, R., Slep, A., & US Air Force Family Advocacy Res. (2014). Emotional abuse and its unique ecological correlates among military personnel and spouses. Psychology of Violence, 4(2), 128-142. doi:10.1037/a0034536


This post was written by Jay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhD, members of the MFLN Family Development (FD) team which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, You Tube, and on LinkedIn.

Resource Discovery: NPR Military Children in Public School

By Jay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhD

This month, PBS is highlighting the emotional challenges and resilience of children with a parent in the military in their PBS Weekly Edition. According to PBS, military children move nine times on average before they graduate. The majority of children are in public schools. This can create problems of feeling displaced, misunderstood, and excluded. The first podcast provides a look at the challenges that military children face in public schools.

Flickr, IITA International School children and their teacher, 2010

This post was written by Jay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhD, members of the MFLN Family Development (FD) team which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, You Tube, and on LinkedIn.

Military Wives Matter – Barriers to Mental Health Treatment

Jay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhD

Lewy, Oliver, and McFarland (2014) [1] recently published research on barriers to mental health treatment, comparing military wives and a similar sample from the general population. Results from the survey indicated that the perceived barriers faced by military wives when seeking treatment for mental illnesses were significantly different than those perceived by the civilian population.

Welcome home Waesche crew
Welcome home Waesche crew, DVIDS U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Pamela J. Boehland

To compare military wives with spouses in the general population, Internet-based surveys were used to gather a national sample of women married to military service members. The researchers screened potential participants for depression, non-specific psychological distress, and health status using established measures. Data from the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH ) provided a comparison group of similar women in the civilian population. The comparison samples totaled 569 military wives and 567 married women from the NSDUH survey.

Results of the surveys indicated that military wives believed that they faced a number of barriers to receiving mental health treatment that differed from the civilian population. The table below summarizes the comparative results:

(Adapted from Lewy, C., Oliver, C. & McFarland, B., (2014) Barriers to Mental Health Treatment for Military Wives)


When working with military wives, whether on-base or in the community, it is important to consider the concerns of clients. As the above table indicates, military wives’ concerns about not getting treatment, lack of time for consultation, locating an appropriate clinician, trust, and feeling understood could be impediments to developing the necessary relationship for quality mental health care.


[1] Lewy, C. S., Oliver, C. M., & McFarland, B. H. (2014). Barriers to mental health treatment for military wives. Psychiatric Services, 65(9), 1170-1173. doi: 10.1176/

This post was written by Jay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhD, members of the MFLN Family Development (FD) team which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, You Tube, and on LinkedIn.

FD Webinar: Helping Domestic Violence Survivors Obtain Economic Freedom

Domestic Violence: Helping Survivors Obtain Economic Freedom

Date: February 12, 2015

Time: 11am-1pm Eastern


Flickr, 401(K) 2012, January 20, 2012

Dr. Ludy Green, an expert on U.S. domestic violence  and an internationally acclaimed speaker, will provide an overview of economic abuse and its negative impacts on domestic violence victims. Dr. Green will highlight what advocates and mental health clinicians need to know about economic abuse and how economic security can serve as a defense against domestic violence. She will also cover strategies to empower victims on a larger level, such as implementing domestic violence policies in the workplace.

We offer 2.0 National Association of Social Worker CE credits for each of our webinars, click here to learn more. For more information on future presentations in the 2014 Family Development webinar series, please visit our professional development website or connect with us via social media for announcements: (Facebook & Twitter)

Can a Smartphone Make You Smarter?

Jay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhD

Using smartphones and other mobile communications devices have become a way of life for many of us. As of 2010, there were over 7.000 health applications for mobile devices – and the list keeps growing. Dr. Shore and colleagues have cataloged and prioritized applications for mental health for the military and summarized three leading military mental health projects using mobile technologies [1].

Combat smart phones: 2-1 AD provides feedback on futuristic technology

Mobile Health, or mHealth (using mobile communication devices for health care services), can improve traditional mental health practices by enhancing communication, enriching health information, encouraging engagement, and improving compliance. Mobile technology can be used easily on-base or in the civilian community, is easily accessible (can be carried in a pocket, purse, or backpack), and can provide patient physiological data as well as voice and text communications. A wide range of mHealth applications for the military have been developed or are in development. Some of the projects being developed include:

  • Remote Exercises for Learning Anger and Excitation Management (RELAX): This application collects self-reported information about the emotions of the user and physiological information that is reported to a therapist to assist in therapist-directed feedback to address anger and stress.
  • Remote PTSD monitoring and diagnosis using an automated system: The application uses voice analysis software to screen and identify individuals at risk for PTSD.
  • A Conversational Independent Living Assistant for Cognitive Impairments: This project extends the current Planning and Execution Assistant Trainer (PEAT) to help users in the VA system to plan, execute, and monitor daily activities. The application is planned to have a virtual caregiver who interacts with the user.
  • Naturalistic Neurocognitive Assessment: A video game for smartphones, the application assesses increasingly complex neurocognitive metrics.

While there are many opportunities to develop innovative mobile technology solutions, there is a limited base of mental health literature evaluating outcomes when using these devices. Still in its infancy, the field of mobile technology and of mHealth is fast moving and provides many possibilities for uses in mental health for care providers in the future.


Shore, J. H., Aldag, M., McVeigh, F. L., Hoover, R. L., Ciulla, R., & Fisher, A. (2014). Review of mobile health technology for military mental health. Military Medicine, 179(8), 865-878. doi:10.7205/MILMED-D-13-00429


This post was written by Jay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhD, members of the MFLN Family Development (FD) team which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, You Tube, and on LinkedIn.

Passwords and online safety


In early August, the New York Times reported that Russian hackers had “amassed the largest known collection of stolen Internet credentials, including 1.2 billion username and password combinations and more than 500 million email addresses” This report is but the latest in a string of news stories about the credentials of Internet users being compromised. In the past year, there have been many data breaches including Target, Adobe, Michaels and others.

Typically, when a single site is breached, the advice is to change your credentials for that one site, and any others where you use the same credentials. However, in this instance the stolen passwords and usernames were from many websites, and a detailed list of the affected sites is not available.

This incident and similar ones should be the impetus for you to consider how you secure your identity when using websites for communication, banking, purchasing, social networking, and all the activities we do online. Good security requires sacrificing a bit of convenience, but the peace of mind is worth it.

Password Security
 – your responsibility

Most sites require you to login with a username (often an email address) and a password. Since your email address is most likely public, your password is the “secret” that you are using to prove to the website that you are who you say you are. Creating a good password and keeping it secret are vital to online security.

This article about passwords, from the Network Literacy area of the eXtension site provides information on password usage, choosing a good password, remembering passwords, and two-factor authentication.

Some key takeaways

  • Passwords should be long, complex, and different for each site you use
  • Keeping track of passwords is a key barrier to people adopting a strong password policy for themselves
  • Two-factor authentication adds another component to security, making the compromise of a password less harmful

The World Wide Web was originally developed without much thought given to security – it was a model built on trust. Incidents like this make clear that security is necessary, and that each of us is responsible for protecting our identities and credentials.

Authors: Stephen Judd (@sjudd) and Terrence Wolfork (+Terrence Wolfork, @trwolfork )

This article (Passwords and online safety) was originally published Thursday August 14, 2014 on the Military Families Learning Network blog, a part of eXtension.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

The Value of Research for Financial Professionals

By Molly C. Herndon

Social Media Strategist 

For financial professionals working with clients in the field, economic research may seem abstract and non-applicable to their daily practice. Our August 12 webinar, Cliffs Notes from the Journal of Financial Planning & Counseling will highlight some of the more relevant articles from the journal and discuss the practical implications and impacts of the research.

Reading by Pedro Ribeiro Simões is licensed Creative Commons.
Reading by Pedro Ribeiro Simões is licensed Creative Commons.

Indeed, measuring outcomes is a significant way we all benefit from academic economic research. The evaluation of the outcomes of projects, programs, and initiatives encourages the improvement of programs to better reach and connect with their audiences. Thus, financial professionals have better access to programs to continue their own education, and a richer well of knowledge to share with clients.

Of course, financial professionals benefit from consuming research as well. By reading journals, financial professionals stay on top of current practices, trends, and can help develop programs that meet the needs of their clients by incorporating empirical evidence.

So make plans to go through some research briefs with Dr. Barbara O’Neill on Tuesday, August 12 at 11 a.m. ET. She will discuss not only the findings of various economic studies, but also the practical application of these findings. More information about this 90-minute webinar is available here. 

This post was published on the Military Families Learning Network blog on August 8, 2014.

Goodbye AleX

The eXtension Network Literacy Community of Practice (CoP) will no longer be tweeting using the @AleXNetLit twitter account.

In a blog post explaining AleX, we wrote:

“AleX NetLit is an experiment. She is a new tool for learning in the changing knowledge and communication landscape. Will she make an impact? We’re not sure, but we will keep trying to use new and innovative tools to help people understand and harness the power of online networks.”

After careful consideration, the CoP steering committee, with input from the broader community, decided that our use of AleX was not making a significant impact, and that our efforts would be better directed elsewhere.

Members of the Network Literacy CoP remain active on social networks and use the hashtag #netlit to signify posts of interest to the community. Please look for that hashtag, or visit our page, where we aggregate #netlit posts from across social media sites.

Where we went wrong

While we firmly believe that using a persona to communicate and help focus our message via social media was a worthwhile endeavor, there are things we could have done better:

  • AleX was crafted to help us think about one of our target audiences – Military Families’ Service Professionals. However, we never gained traction with that particular audience, and are now working to help them get started in social media instead.
  • We rotated the responsibility of tweeting as AleX, but most of us simply channelled what we would normally tweet through her account. AleX never developed her own personality and lacked consistency in style and content.

We’re open to the possibility of using a persona when we feel it will help build engagement and communication with others. Any future use of a persona will be informed by the lessons we learned while tweeting as AleX.


Stephen Judd – UNH Cooperative Extension and Chair, Network Literacy CoP

Bob Bertsch – North Dakota State University Extension, frequent AleX contributor, and Engagement Coordinator, Network Literacy CoP

Peg Boyles - Network Literacy CoP member and frequent AleX contributor


This article (Goodbye AleX) was originally published Monday July 7, 2014 on the Military Families Learning Network blog, a part of eXtension.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Twitter: Rules of Engagement

keep-calm-and-tweetTwitter is a lot like caring for a goldfish. It doesn’t require the same level of commitment required for a child — or a dog, for that matter — but building a strong Twitter presence requires some commitment, even a daily commitment, if you plan to establish an exceptionally strong presence.

How far you want to pursue this commitment is entirely your call.

What follows is not intended to be a comprehensive guide to Twitter, only a few rules — a few rules of engagement that hopefully will help you articulate your commitment, and along the way to make this initiation into the rather arcane world of Twitter a little easier.

Rule of Engagement #1: You Don’t Have to Engage

Lots of people lurk on Twitter. In other words, they only read other people’s tweets without tweeting themselves.

That’s okay. Some people find Twitter interesting solely for the enormous amounts of dialogue and graphic- and link-sharing that occurs. Twitter has proven to be a great source for professionals and hobbyists who simply want to enhance or refine their knowledge.

Rule of Engagement #2: Find Your Center of Gravity

On the other hand, if you have signed onto Twitter with the goal of building a presence, your first priority should be finding your center of gravity. By center of gravity, we mean the traits that define your place in the Twittersphere — those special passions, interests, insights and skills you bring to the table and that will help you grow your Twitter presence. Likewise, you should reflect on the audience you wish to reach. What is the best way to connect your messages with your audiences? To put it another way, how do you package your tweets? What is the best way to phrase your tweets and what kind of graphics should you use to enhance some of them?

Rule of Engagement #3: Share, Share and Share

Twitter is built on a foundation of reciprocity. You build a successful Twitter presence not only by providing your followers with interesting tweets, but also by retweeting the best of theirs.

There’s a knack to this, one that can be gained only by close observation. Spend some time lurking and observing how others tweet and retweet before you wade in yourself.

Rule of Engagement #4: Build Lists

These aren’t lists of enemies — of people who have snubbed or insulted you — far from it. Lists are essential for managing the immense volumes of tweets generated daily on Twitter. Building lists will help you identify and learn from those on Twitter who are also building interesting and engaging presences. Learn from them. Equally important, use these lists to identify the best daily tweets and retweet them. You will be surprised how quickly your own Twitter presence grows.

Free applications such as Hootsuite and TweetDeck provide convenient means for building these lists.

Rule of Engagement #4: Make as Much Hash as You Can

You can extend the reach of your tweets using hashtags — in other words, marking key words or topics with the #symbol.

Popular hashtags include #followme #happy #picoftheday and #funny.

While it’s important not to get carried away with hashtags, they increase the likelihood that you will connect with the audiences you’re trying to reach. (Note: The Network Literacy Community of Practice uses the hashtag #netlit to tag tweets and other social media posts related to network literacy.)

Rule of Engagement #5: Mix It Up!

It’s a good idea to stick to a general theme on Twitter. But don’t get too set in one’s ways. Mix it up every now and then. Don’t hesitate to venture off topic occasionally. Weave humor and other unexpected elements into your tweets.

Other Twitter users appreciate you more when they realize you are a normal human being with genuine interests and passions.

Rules of Engagement #6: There are No Hard and Fast Rules.

Building an effective Twitter presence is an art, not a science.

Any experienced twitter user will concede that there is no Magic Book of Twitter, no proven way to ensure that what you tweet will gain traction. A lot of success comes from closely observing others and learning from experience

It calls for developing a sixth sense. That comes with time — not to mention, practice and patience.


Author: Jim Langcuster ()

This article (Twitter: Rules of Engagement) was originally published Thursday May 22, 2014 on the Military Families Learning Network blog, a part of eXtension.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.