An examination of the factors that predict retention intention among U.S. Marines

Given the current political and military climate, it appears that our service men and women will be involved in many conflicts within the next few years. In order to maintain the strength of force in use, it is essential to maintain a high number of active-duty personnel. The ability to predict retention intentions is likely to require greater understanding of the individual's commitment to the military's values, as well as factors related to the individual's work and non-work experiences within the military environment. To date, the consideration of such factors has been neglected in studies regarding retention. This project addressed this gap by considering the role of military values, job factors, and family support in the prediction of retention intention. The goal was to identify important influences on retention, thereby allowing the military to address its need to maintain personnel and military strength. This study employed the use of a hierarchical multiple regression to examine the role of life satisfaction as a mediator for four predictor variables (military values, job satisfaction, work-place support, and spousal support) on retention intention. Life satisfaction was found to partially mediate the effects of military values and spousal support onto retention intention. A hierarchical multiple regression was used to assess predictor variable importance when predicting retention intention. Results indicated that, when considered in this multivariate context, job satisfaction was the only significant predictor of retention intention. Results of this study are consistent with the spillover hypothesis, and indicate the importance of day-to-day experiences Marines face at work and at home. Although commitment to the Military Values the Marine Corps espouses is related to intention to reenlist, the military may be more successful at retaining personnel if it focuses on factors that are more proximate to soldier's lives: that is, aspects of their work and home lives. In particular, characteristics that influence job satisfaction may be especially important to consider. If these factors are addressed, a greater number of active-duty personnel may opt to stay in the military, thus ensuring the security of the nation.