WHO SINGS THE BABY BLUES? CHANGES IN MENTAL HEALTH AND RETENTION AMONG PARENTS IN THE MILITARY
Ellington, Megan M.
Heissel, Jennifer A.
Healy, Olivia, Cornell University
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The military is facing pressure to ensure policies foster a diverse and inclusive workforce. As of 2020, 35 percent of the military had dependent children, with most children under the age of 12, and postpartum depression statistics in the military are as high as 29 percent. This thesis explores changes in mental health for both first-time parents and seasoned parents and how such changes predict retention. Pre-birth and post-birth mental health trends for parents who had their first child between March 2013 and March 2015 are captured to predict the likelihood of remaining in the military at least 48 months after the birth of the first child. There is also an attempt to uncover how mental health concerns predict retention for all parents who have a child under 18 between March 2013 and March 2019. Research into the mental health of military parents can provide the military insight on where to focus resources and training so that service members and their families are supported to the greatest extent possible. If the military can provide the right resources to families after the birth or adoption of a child, or at critical times in their careers where mental health illnesses are more likely to occur, service members may perform better or remain in service longer.
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