Forecasting Enlistment Actions from Intention Information

Validity and Improvement

by Bruce R. Orvis

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This Note documents a briefing on the initial phase of research concerning the validity of survey measures of enlistment intentions. A composite database was formed which linked survey enlistment intention responses with the respondents' actual enlistment decisions following the survey. The survey data were from the 1981 Applicant Survey and ten semiannual waves of the Youth Attitude Tracking Study (YATS), covering spring 1976 to fall 1980. The enlistment data were obtained from Defense Manpower Data Center extracts of the AFEES Reporting System records maintained by the Military Enlistment Processing Command. Then the relationship between strength of enlistment intention and likelihood of enlistment was analyzed, both for applicants — persons who have taken the written test to enter the military — and for the YATS national youth samples. The results suggest that the enlistment intention measures in the Applicant and YATS surveys do a good job of discriminating the respondents' true probabilities of enlistment.

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