Civilian husbands in the military family: current issues and future concerns
Johnson, Roni S.
Eitelberg, Mark J.
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This thesis explores various issues confronting women officers and their civilian spouses. Population data are analyzed by officer pay grade and community to describe the increasing proportion of women officers in the Navy and Marine Corps who are married to civilians. Focused interviews were conducted with 32 female officers and their spouses. All interviews were taped and transcribed, from which 25 general themes emerged. These themes cover many topics relating to gender role conflicts, spouse employment challenges, career conflict, spouse support for the officer, and the officer's career intentions. Several conclusions are drawn from the research. It is noteworthy that a vast majority of civilian husbands have military experience. This experience is perceived by many interviewees as the key to the male spouse's ability to successfiilly cope with the challenges facing him as a trailing spouse or as a primary care-giver for children. For these officers, marriage to a civilian provides more flexibility and less stress than experienced previously when the spouse was also in the military. Most spouses believe the security and benefits derived from their wife's military career outweigh the disadvantages of their mobile lifestyle. Interview excerpts should offer valuable information to decision makers in the area of family support policy.
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