Street, T., Lewin, A., Woodall, K., Cruz‐Cano, R., Thoma, M., & Stander, V. A. (2022). Gender differences in marital and military predictors of service member career satisfaction. Family Relations.


U.S. servicewomen may face unique military experiences unlike those of servicemen, and stressors can affect their satisfaction with the military. Understanding factors influencing satisfaction among the increasing number of U.S. servicewomen in the U.S. military is important for retention.


Using family stress theory, data from service members and their spouses (N = 9325) enrolled in the Millennium Cohort Family Study were analyzed using cross-sectional linear regression to evaluate the relationship between military and family stressors and service members’ military satisfaction, and how these relationships differ by gender.


Service members with more deployment experience and better mental health were more satisfied with the military, while spouse employment outside the home and work–family conflict were associated with less satisfaction. Gender, marital quality, and social support moderated the relationships between stressors and military satisfaction, suggesting they may impact men and women differently. Overall, however, work–family conflict was associated with decrements in the career satisfaction of both men and women.


This study increases our understanding of the influence military and family stressors have on service members’ satisfaction with the military. It also reveals gender differences in military satisfaction and recommends strategies to address the needs of diverse military families.