Factors Affecting Reenlistment of Reservists

Spouse and Employer Attitudes and Perceived Unit Environment

by David W. Grissmer, Sheila Nataraj Kirby, Man-bing Sze


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This report examines the reenlistment decisions of early- to mid-career reservists (i.e., those with 4-12 years of service) and the forces affecting those decisions. Using the 1986 Reserve Components Survey of Enlisted Personnel, the authors extended earlier reenlistment estimates in several important directions, including (1) developing a reenlistment model with reservists from all six components to measure the impact of component-specific influences; (2) measuring the influence of perceived spouse attitude on reenlistment and contrasting this with a similar measure of perceived employer attitude; and (3) measuring the influence of the training and unit environment on reenlistment. The findings underscore the importance of attitudinal variables in models of reenlistment. Reservists with more favorable employer attitudes have significantly higher reenlistment rates. Spouse attitude toward reserve participation appears to have an even more significant influence on reenlistment rates than employer attitudes. The authors find that the net effect of all the variables in the multivariate models are rather small in magnitude compared with those relating to the marital status/dependents/spouse attitude variables. Dissatisfaction with training, equipment, and morale of the unit also appears to have a fairly significant impact on reenlistment.

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