Longitudinal predictors of desire to re-enlist in the military among male and female National Guard soldiers

Steven L. Lancaster, Christopher R Erbes, Mandy J. Kumpula, Amanda Ferrier-Auerbach, Paul A Arbisi, Melissa A Polusny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Given the cost and burden associated with training and recruitment of military members, identifying predictors of military retention remains an important goal. The aim of the current study was to examine predictors of male and female service members' likelihood of remaining in the National Guard following combat deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Using a prospective, longitudinal design, this study assessed a wide range of predictors including mental health functioning, personality variables, deployment stressors, and various domains of quality of life. Results indicated perceived unit support was the strongest predictor of intention to re-enlist for both male and female participants. However, significant gender differences emerged as predeployment depression and a trend toward perceived life threat during deployment were predictors of men's intention to re-enlist, whereas the predeployment personality dimension of introversion (low positive emotionality) and postdeployment life stressors were predictors of women's intention to re-enlist. Surprisingly, no postdeployment mental health variables predicted National Guard soldiers' intention to re-enlist. Findings from this study suggest factors associated with National Guard service members' retention or attrition from the military may be amenable to intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-273
Number of pages7
JournalMilitary medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2013


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