Jan 1, 1989
During the 1980s, Army families became more diverse and complex, paralleling trends in the civilian world. As these changes have developed, Army families have called for improved family and quality-of-life programs. The Army leadership has expressed concern that family needs, if unmet, could reduce soldiers’ readiness, retention, and overall well-being. To determine how extensive such needs are, and how much they are affected by family characteristics and Army policies, this study collected quantitative data relevant to Army family policy, focusing on three key areas: soldiers’ individual readiness, their use of family services, and their overall well-being. The analyses confirm that long working hours, frequent rotations, frequent separations from family, overseas location, and assignment to a nonpreferred location have negative impacts on individual readiness and well-being. The authors found a strong relationship between favorable perceptions of Army leadership and practices on the one hand, and readiness and individual well-being on the other. Perceptions of Army support and of the necessity of Army requirements are also associated with retention for officers and with Army commitment and job performance for all soldiers.