Date of Award

May 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Social Welfare

First Advisor

Steven L McMurtry

Committee Members

Michael J Brondino, Colleen E Janczewski, Nadya A Fouad


Dual-military, Military retention, Spillover, Women's studies


Military women’s retention is an ongoing organizational challenge. In the U.S. Air Force, the target service for this study, women currently account for 20% of all personnel, but across all services they are retained at a rate five to ten percent lower than males. A related issue is dual-military marriages, and 11% of all active-duty Airmen, regardless of gender, are married to another service member. Almost 54% of married female Airmen are in a dual-military marriage, compared to 13% of married male Airmen. Unlike non-dual-military marriages, retention of dual-military servicemembers significantly decreases after ten years in service. This study seeks to identify the most important predictors of retention, measured by a single question about intent to remain, along with a set of responses about steps taken to depart. Because of its ability to apply an ensemble algorithm to classification problems when creating a predictive model, Random Forest regression was used for analyses. Findings indicated that the affective dimension of organizational commitment and spousal views about remaining were the most consistently predictive variables. Other meaningful predictors were family views, job satisfaction, perceived job alternatives, and perceived organizational support. Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regression was also used to determine if gender or dual-military status served to moderate any of the predictors. Results indicated that gender did moderate two relationships—family views and military pay, whereas dual-military status did not play a moderating role. These findings suggest that efforts to improve retention would best be directed toward improving organizational commitment of servicemembers and views of their spouses. Next most important would be enhancing family views and perceived organizational support. The views expressed in this report are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the United States Air Force, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.