Date of Conferral

2017

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Psychology

Advisor

Rachel L. Piferi

Abstract

With the advent of the Global War on Terror in 2001, more than 2 million troops have deployed in support of contingency operations throughout the world. During this time, the divorce rates have increased throughout the military, hitting an all-time high in 2011, and dropping slightly thereafter. Enlisted members on active duty in the United States Air Force exhibited a higher rate of divorce than did their counterparts in any other branch of military service. At present, the reasons for the heightened Air Force divorce rates are still unknown. Perhaps more importantly, research has not identified which specific subgroups within the Air Force stand at the highest risk of divorce. Current research has identified several factors that contribute to divorce in military personnel. These factors include career group, gender, race, and deployments. The purpose of this archival quantitative study, based on the stress hypothesis, was to describe, compare, analyze, and explore divorce status of the active duty enlisted corps of the U.S. Air Force in 2011 (N = 247,644), the year in which military divorce rates peaked. Research questions were answered using tables, bar graphs, and chi-square tests to explore associations among the variables. The study examined four independent variables, Air Force specialty, career group, gender, and race and found a statistically significant correlation between each of the independent variables and divorce rates. A weak association was found between deployments and divorce, with the greatest association found between gender and divorce. Among Air Force servicemembers, females were more than twice as likely to be divorced than males. This study may contribute to positive social change by reducing the rates of marital dissolution in the Air Force.

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