Date of Conferral







Tony Hobson


The purpose of this study was to examine how the single-parent home environment, together with other demographic attributes like socioeconomic status, influenced young adults' decisions to enlist in the military. Adolescents transitioning into adulthood are often faced with the choices of what to do after high school, such as whether or not to join the military. Previous studies on youth enlistment in the military do not address in-depth the question of why they enlist or their motivating factors. Interviews via face-to-face, over the phone or via Skype, were conducted with 9 participants between the ages of 25-35 years who were high school graduates or GED holders who enlisted within 2 years from graduation, from single-parent homes, and separated from the military on their own accord prior to starting the study. Participants were voluntarily recruited through social media using purposeful sampling. Guided by Carl Rogers' theory of self-concept, data were analyzed via coding techniques to draw out common themes, and 4 composite themes emerged: (a) those individuals raised by absentee mothers were more likely to enlist in the military service, (b) troubled homes predicted the desire of the young adults to leave their homes, (c) evasion from the family conflict and financial stability were motivations for enlistment in the military, and (d) deprivation from human basic needs influenced the decision to enlist in the military. The findings can help with determining factors that cause disconnect in the family structure along with gaining a greater understanding a child's sense of belonging such as what is found in the military culture. Results can also be used to influence military professionals/recruiters about the specific types of individuals who are likely to be recruited into the military and how to develop and/or use tools to further assess the ability to sustain the military culture.