Theses Doctoral

Army Wives with Young Children: Motherhood, Market Work and the Significance of Army Family Policy

Sheliga, Vivian Irene Penelope

This study examines the relative impacts of three groups of factors on the labor force participation of Army wives with children under the age of six and the implications for Army family policy. The three groups of factors are: (1) individual, family and socioeconomic factors, (2) features of Army life (eg. relocations, separations), and (3) satisfaction with overall support for Army families and select Army programs.

The goals of this secondary analysis of the 1987 Annual Survey of Army Families (ASAF) are twofold. One goal is to analyze the combined effects of being a mother of a young child, being a wife of a Service member in the Army, and participating in the labor force. The second goal is to examine the linkage between the findings of this research and Army family policy.

Log linear analysis is used to develop models that most parsimoniously represent the key factors that effect the odds an Army wife with young children will be in the labor force. First, a hierarchical log linear model is employed to estimate and select explanatory variables of labor force participation to be tested in a logit model. Second, the logit model is used to determine the log odds or chances that a woman has of being in the labor force based on the function of explanatory variables.

Certain effects appear to be consistently significant and make a larger contribution to the logit models tested overall. Among the effects that increase the odds of an Army wife with young children being in the labor force are: whether the woman is black, whether the couple is geographically separated, whether the wife experiences problems with her overall adaptation to Army life, and whether she is dissatisfied with the overall support she perceives from the Army.

The study concludes that a broader focus on balancing the demands of work and family life, rather than focusing primarily on facilitating the Army wife's access to jobs, should result in better outcomes for the Army and for Army families.


More About This Work

Academic Units
Social Work
Thesis Advisors
Kamerman, Sheila B.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
April 29, 2015