Military Service in the Life Course

Posted: 20 Dec 2007

See all articles by Alair MacLean

Alair MacLean

Washington State University - Department of Sociology

Glen H. Elder

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Department of Sociology

Abstract

We review research published in the past 15 years that explores the relationship between military service and the life course, focusing on criminal careers, marital status, lifelong health, and socioeconomic attainment. Throughout the review, we note the extent to which studies find that veterans experienced different outcomes in different historical periods, ranging from World War II to the more recent voluntary armed forces. The effects of military service depend on whether health, criminal, socioeconomic, or marital outcomes are considered. They also depend on the timing and era of service, and veterans' family background and individual characteristics such as race and delinquency. Nevertheless, the evidence to date suggests one general conclusion: Veterans exposed to combat have suffered worse outcomes than noncombat veterans and than nonveterans. We conclude with suggestions for future research including a tighter integration of the research questions and strategies that have been employed to examine the different outcomes.

Keywords: crime, health, marital status, social inequality, war

Suggested Citation

MacLean, Alair and Elder, Glen H., Military Service in the Life Course. Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 33, August 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1077638

Alair MacLean (Contact Author)

Washington State University - Department of Sociology ( email )

PO Box 644020
Pullman, WA 99164-4020
United States

Glen H. Elder

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Department of Sociology ( email )

Chapel Hill, NC 27599
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
1,209
PlumX Metrics