Motherhood, Stress, and Role Strain in Junior Enlisted Women


Name: Denise Hopkins-Chadwick

Rank: LTC, AN

Organization: The Ohio State University

Performance Site: t

Year Published: 2004

Abstract Status: Final


Currently, women comprise 15% of the United States military force and 20% of newly recruited enlisted personnel. Statistics show differences by sex in attrition; women are at greater risk of leaving the service prematurely. In addition, women leave more frequently than men due to pregnancy, medical problems, misconduct, shortfalls in performance, or parenthood. Military women report that the stress of being in the military is highest among married women with no spouse present, younger enlisted women, and women with the least education. The fact that civilian working women report that stress is the highest during the years of having preschool-aged children suggests that military women's stress may be related to both work and family roles as well as to being a woman in the military. Not surprisingly, work and family role strain can manifest as stress-related symptoms. By negatively influencing the health of the individual woman, the net effect of stress-related symptoms and role strain may be to decrease the overall mission readiness of the organization through decreased individual performance and increased attrition. Unfortunately, little is known about the effect of early motherhood on an enlisted career in terms of individual health and organizational mission readiness.


Final report is available on NTRL: