Woodall, K. A., Esquivel, A. P., Powell, T. M., Riviere, L. A., Amoroso, P. J., Stander, V. A., & Millennium Cohort Family Study Team. (2022). Influence of family factors on service members' decisions to leave the military. Family Relations.

Background: Service member retention is a crucial aspect in maintainingand advancing the U.S. military and its mission. To increase retention, it isimportant to understand why active duty personnel voluntarily leave whilethey are still highly qualified. For married service members, spouses likelyinfluence the decision to stay or leave military service. Objective: Thecurrent study used data from the Millennium Cohort Family Study for 4,539dyads comprising service members and their spouses to investigate familypredictors of voluntary military separation. Methods: Multivariate mediationanalyses were conducted to evaluate the role of military satisfaction (spouseand service member) and work–family conflict as mediators of the effects ofboth family life and military stressors on risk for military separation,while accounting for spouse and service member demographics. Results: Resultsidentified significant family factors operating through work–family conflictand military satisfaction that were associated with increased likelihood ofservice member voluntary separation, including number of children, spousebothered by finances, and service member months away from home. Servicemembers with spouses who reported higher levels of social support weresignificantly less likely to voluntarily separate, after operating throughboth work–family conflict and military satisfaction. Conclusion andImplications: Findings suggest that work–family conflict and militarysatisfaction play an important synergistic role in predicting the impactfamily and career factors have on voluntary separation. These modifiablefactors may guide potential interventions to increase military retentionefforts.