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The experiences of active duty military spouses with advanced degrees in maintaining and advancing their careers

APA Citation:

DaLomba, E., Greer, M. J., Cruz, E., Harris, A., King, C., Laurel, L., McCuaig, T., & Wilder, R. (2021). The experiences of active duty military spouses with advanced degrees in maintaining and advancing their careers. Work, 68(2), 387–398. https://doi.org/10.3233/WOR-203380

Abstract Created by REACH:

This qualitative study examined how spouses of active-duty officers with graduate degrees (N = 9) maintained and advanced their careers using open-ended, semi-structured phone interviews. Analysis of the interviews revealed four main themes: the unique impacts of military life on one’s career, professional adaptation, feeling a duty to others, and the need for more support.

Focus:

Other
Programming

Branch of Service:

Multiple branches

Military Affiliation:

Active Duty

Subject Affiliation:

Spouse of service member or veteran
Civilian

Population:

Young adulthood (18 - 29 yrs)
Thirties (30 - 39 yrs)
Middle age (40 - 64 yrs)

Methodology:

Cross-Sectional Study
Qualitative Study

Authors:

DaLomba, Elaina, Greer, Mary Jan, Cruz, Erika, Harris, Abigail, King, Caitlyn, Laurel, Liberty, McCuaig, Tatiana, Wilder, Remy

Abstract:

BACKGROUND:Individuals married to active duty military members experience a significantly higher rate of un/underemployment than their civilian counterparts; those with advanced degrees are most impacted. Occupation is central to individual identity and adaptation; therefore, individual occupational struggles can impact family systems. Evidence shows military spouse career concerns impact service member retention, making spouse employment related to national security; however there is limited research on active duty spouses, particularly those with advanced degrees. OBJECTIVE:This phenomenological study explored the experiences of activity duty military spouses with advanced degrees focusing on maintaining and advancing their careers. METHODS:Semi-structured face-to-face interviews were used to explore experiences of military spouses with advanced degrees actively seeking to work in their profession. Inductive content analysis was used to derive overarching themes to respond to the research questions. RESULTS:Four major themes emerged: uniqueness of military life impacts; professional adaptation: flexibility, creativity and reinvention of the professional self; enhanced sense of duty/professional integrity; and need for enhanced forms of career support. CONCLUSIONS:Military spouses with advanced degrees value and have a right to occupation, including work. Military life presents unique barriers to this. Results have implications for healthcare providers and policy-makers.

Publisher/Sponsoring Organization:

IOS Press

Publication Type:

Article
REACH Publication
Featured Research

Author Affiliation:

Occupational Therapy Department, Samuel Merritt University, ED
Rapides Parish School Board, MJG
Occupational Therapy Department, Samuel Merritt University, EC
Occupational Therapy Department, Samuel Merritt University, AH
Occupational Therapy Department, Samuel Merritt University, CK
Occupational Therapy Department, Samuel Merritt University, LL
Occupational Therapy Department, Samuel Merritt University, TM
Occupational Therapy Department, Samuel Merritt University, RW

Keywords:

military lifestyle, spouses, professional advancement, advanced degrees

View Research Summary:

REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary

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