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Mil Med. 2015 May;180(5):524-32. doi: 10.7205/MILMED-D-14-00468.

Military, demographic, and psychosocial predictors of military retention in enlisted army soldiers 12 months after deployment to Iraq.

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National Center for PTSD and Psychology, VA Boston Healthcare System, 150 South Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02130.
US Army Research Institute for Environmental Medicine, Kansas Street, Building 42, Natick, MA 01760.
Clinical Epidemiology Research Center, VA Connecticut Healthcare System, 950 Campbell Avenue, West Haven, CT 06516.
VA Puget Sound Healthcare System, 1660 South Columbian Way, Seattle, WA 98108.



To examine military, demographic, and psychosocial predictors of military retention following operational deployment.


Military status 12 months following return from Iraq deployment was assessed via service records in 740 regular active duty Army Soldiers. Potential predictors of military retention were derived from prospectively administered in-person interviews and questionnaires conducted within 3 months following return from Iraq.


At 12 months following return from deployment, 18.1% (n = 134) of the sample had separated from military service. Cox proportional hazards analyses, adjusting for demographic, military, and psychosocial predictors, identified several factors that were independently associated with military attrition: less than (vs. equal to or more than) 6 years military experience (hazards ratio [HR], 3.98; 95% CI, 2.12-7.45); unmarried (vs. married) status (HR, 1.51; 95% CI, 1.06-2.16); and lower (vs. higher) levels of self-reported unit support during deployment (HR, 2.22; 95% CI, 1.42-3.47).


Service members early in their career may be especially prone to military attrition. With regard to military retention, our findings suggest that it may be particularly important to develop initiatives that target organizational cohesion and support.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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