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Families Under Stress

Families Under Stress: An Assessment of Data, Theory, and Research on Marriage and Divorce in the Military

Benjamin R. Karney
John S. Crown
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 244
  • Book Info
    Families Under Stress
    Book Description:

    The authors estimate marriage and marital dissolution trends from 1996 to 2005, and the effects of recent deployments on risk of ending a marriage. Marital dissolution rates across services and components are currently similar to those seen in 1996, when the demands on the military were measurably lower. Service members who were deployed had a lower risk of subsequently ending their marriages than those who did not deploy or deployed fewer days.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4273-6
    Subjects: Management & Organizational Behavior

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-x)
  4. Figures
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Tables
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xvii-xxxiv)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxxv-xxxvi)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxxvii-xxxviii)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-8)

    On August 12, 1993, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Carl E. Mundy, Jr., released a directive that the Marines would begin to phase out married recruits among the enlisted ranks, with the goal of eliminating married recruits within two years. To justify this decision, the directive suggested that the marriages of young Marines were at risk because of the stress associated with military service, and that problems at home in turn exert a negative effect on performance. Given that the demands of military life were unlikely to change, favoring unmarried recruits could be viewed as a way of...

  10. CHAPTER TWO Developing Models of Military Marriage
    (pp. 9-32)

    In the concluding chapter of their edited volume,The Organization Family: Work and Family Linkages in the U.S. Military, Bowen and Orthner (1989) characterized the military’s family support programs as “largely reactive, developed primarily in response to specific problems and their symptoms” (p. 180). The underlying problem, they argued, was the lack of any articulated theory of how military marriages function. To guide effective family policies in the military, these described what an adequate theory would look like:

    There is a critical need for an explicit model of work-family linkages in the military (replete with underlying assumptions and operational outcome...

  11. CHAPTER THREE Review of Empirical Research on Military Marriages
    (pp. 33-68)

    Historians Modell and Haggerty (1991), in their review of research on the social impact of war, suggested that our understanding of the ramifications of military service had not advanced much since Homer described the homecoming of Odysseus. They attributed the lack of progress in this area to the way research has been conducted, writing:

    The social impact of war merits systematic treatment by social scientists but has not received it. Many substantial empirical contributions have added to our understanding of aspects of this subject, but these have rarely been well enough integrated in the literature to bring them to bear...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR Trends in Marriage and Divorce: Reanalyzing Military Service Personnel Records
    (pp. 69-132)

    On June 8, 2005, prominent articles in several national news outlets (e.g., McIntyre, 2005; Zoroya, 2005) reported that divorce rates in the Army had jumped sharply since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Throughout the rest of that year, other news organizations repeated the story, reporting increases in divorce ranging from 49 percent to 100 percent (e.g., Fiore, 2005; Jaffe, 2005; Worland, 2005). Despite variability in the reported size of the increase, the broader outlines of these stories were consistent across outlets. In every case, reporters attributed the rise in divorce to the difficulties that families face when male...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE Evaluating Alternative Explanations for Rising Rates of Marital Dissolution in the Military
    (pp. 133-146)

    In the summer of 2005, data analyses prepared by Kris Hoffman of DMDC indicated that rates of divorce among active Army officers had nearly tripled in the two years between FY2002 and FY2004 and had nearly doubled between FY2003 and FY2004 alone. This reported trend raised concerns that military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq had placed excessive strains on the families of Army officers, but the severity of the increase also raised concerns about the quality of the data and the analyses. Chapter Four of this monograph presented a reanalysis of the data from DMDC that includes an additional wave...

  14. CHAPTER SIX The Direct Effects of Deployments on Marital Dissolution
    (pp. 147-160)

    The analyses described thus far in this monograph have been purely descriptive, tracking changes in rates of marriage and marital dissolution across the past ten years. To understand the effects of recent military actions on service members and their marriages, such analyses are limited in several ways. First, as Pavalko and Elder observed, “aggregated rates of marriage do not tell us which marriages were at greatest risk” (1990, p. 1215). Second, tracking trends within the military as a whole does not provide any direct insight into the question of greatest interest to military leaders: How does being deployed affect service...

  15. CHAPTER SEVEN Conclusions and Future Directions for Research and Policy
    (pp. 161-176)

    In contrast to the days when service members were discouraged from being married, today’s military has been called a military of families (Hosek et al., 2002). Not only are most service members currently married, but those who are unmarried enter marriage at higher rates than comparable unmarried civilians (Cadigan, 2000), suggesting that the modern military offers incentives that actually encourage marriage (Zax and Flueck, 2003). In light of the increasing relevance of marriage for the lives of service members, there is now a growing consensus that supporting these relationships is in the best interests of the military. Although the implications...

  16. APPENDIX Marriage and Marital Dissolution Tables
    (pp. 177-188)
  17. References
    (pp. 189-206)