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Turning Points in Life: The Case of Military Service and War

Citation

Elder, Glen H., Jr.; Gimbel, Cynthia; & Ivie, Rachel L. (1991). Turning Points in Life: The Case of Military Service and War. Military Psychology, 3(4), 215-31.

Abstract

Military service creates discontinuity in men's lives by removing them from age-graded careers and subjecting them to the dictates of a world in which one's past or life history has no importance. How do men view their military service during their later years? Is military service recalled as an experience that subjectively influences different parts of their life course? Using four long-term longitudinal samples of American men born between 1904 and 1930, this article examines the extent t o which military service (from 1940 to 1955, including World War 11) represented subjective turning points in their lives. Military service specifically, rather than war generally, was recalled as the life-changing experience. The probability of perceiving military service as a life-course turning point was significantly influenced by entry at a relatively young age, by membership in a family that suffered hardship during the Depression, and by a successful military career. Men in this study were most likely to define past events as turning points when those events had positive effects and were perceived to cause substantial change in their lives, including occupational change.

URL

https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327876mp0304_3

Reference Type

Journal Article

Journal Title

Military Psychology

Author(s)

Elder, Glen H., Jr.
Gimbel, Cynthia
Ivie, Rachel L.

Year Published

1991

Volume Number

3

Issue Number

4

Pages

215-31

Reference ID

1621