Unheard Voices: Education and Employment Perspectives of Enlisted Military Wives




Garland-Jackson, Felicia

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Much has been studied and written about military wives during the post 9/11 period on topics ranging from coping under stress strategies to the connection between the military wife’s quality of life and her influence on the combat readiness of her military service member husband. Wives’ satisfaction with their education level and employment status has been shown to positively impact their quality of life, however, military wives’ perspectives and priorities are often solely gleaned from quantitative data derived from often-employed surveys. This qualitative study of in-depth interviews serves as a complement to recent quantitative survey data by giving voice to enlisted military wives and allowing them, in their own words, to elaborate on their perceptions, experiences, and priorities in the areas of education and employment. Interviews were conducted with twelve enlisted military wives of various ranks representing all four branches of service, Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. Findings support historical research that wives believe the military lifestyle constrains their education and employment pursuits. Participants were of varying levels of education, employment, and socioeconomic status (ranks) yet all expressed having frustrated and depressive periods due to their military lifestyle circumstances. Additionally, wives expressed different levels of familiarity with and use (or non-use) of existing Department of Defense (DoD) programming designed to assist military spouses in their educational and employment pursuits.



Military spouses, Military spouse employment, Military spouse education, Military family