Date of Award

May 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Diane M. Reddy

Committee Members

Raymond Fleming, Susan D. Lima


Belonging, Cohesion, Gender, Group, Military, Race


This study aimed to identify predictors of perceived belonging within the military unit, a factor which has been shown to promote effectiveness, satisfaction, and mental health. Online survey responses from service members, veterans, and trainees were analyzed using hierarchical multiple regression. It was found that perceptions of positive military leadership, larger unit size, older age, and active duty (rather than reserve/guard) service were associated with higher perceived belonging, together explaining a significant portion of variance in scores. Male gender was also found to be associated with higher perceived belonging, but the increase in variance explained by the addition of this factor was not significant. The proportion of women within the unit, and the interaction between gender and the proportion of women within the unit, did not explain additional variance in perceived belonging scores. These findings can be used to focus future research and to guide military leaders and policymakers.