The purpose of this study was to examine how the communication use of potential recruits and their parents influence their attitudes toward the United States Army and Marine Corps, and the likelihood of these electing to serve in the Army or Marine Corps.
Hierarchical regression analysis was employed to assess the influence of communication use of young adults and parents on potential for military service. This broad issue is embodied in Hypothesis 1, 2, 5, 6, and 7.
The first predictor block consisted of sociodemographic variables: ethnicity, age, income, and gender. The next block consisted of a wide array of communication forms. Each embodied a unique source of information about the military, including: talk radio, network television news, conversations with others, print newspapers, general video game use, video games depicting military personnel, entertainment television, television talk shows, local television news, general movie viewing, movies depicting military personnel, radio news, television magazines, television recruiting advertising, and newspaper recruiting advertising.
Hypothesis 1 predicted that respondents who rely on news for information about the military would have a negative attitude about the military and about serving in the military. Radio news is the only predictor of attitude about the military and about serving the military. Therefore, at first glance, Hypothesis 1 was partially supported because radio news use predicted attitudes about the military and about military service, but newspaper use and national television news use did not.
Hypothesis 2 predicted those who rely on entertainment for information about the military will have a positive attitude about the military and about serving in the military. At first glance, Hypothesis 2 was not supported when examining scaled measures of attitude about the military and about military service. However, a thermometer scale was also used to assess the likelihood of joining the Army or Marines. The single item scale did have significant predicators. Ethnicity (b=-.31, p<.05), newspaper use (b=-.36, p<.05), entertainment television use (b=-.44, p<.05), and use of movies depicting the military (b=.48, p<.10) were all significant predictors in determining young people’s likelihood of serving.
Caucasians were more inclined to serve than other ethnic groups. Newspaper use and entertainment talk show use were negatively related to and movies depicting the military were positively associated with likelihood of serving in the military. The results for the Thermometer measure often additional support to the Hypothesis 1 and partial support for Hypothesis 2.
People’s media use and attention may impact their attitude about the war in Iraq. We were interested in determining what would predict attitudes about the war in Iraq. Income (b=.27, p<.05), use of newspapers (b=-.52, p<.01), use and attention to television entertainment shows (b=-.43, p<.05), and use and attention to movies depicting the military (b=.54, p<.05) were all significant predictors of attitude about the war in Iraq.
Therefore, young adults and parents reading the newspaper or watching television entertainment shows had negative attitudes about the war in Iraq.
Hypothesis 4 predicted those who rely on recruiting advertisements about the military will have positive attitudes about the military. Hypothesis 4 was not supported.
Hypothesis 5 predicted that those who rely on conversations to gain information about the military would have negative attitudes about the military. Hypothesis 5 was not supported.
Hypothesis 6 predicted that those who have military experience within the immediate family would have positive attitude about the military and serving in the military. Hypothesis 6 was not supported.
Overall, the regression results were disappointing. The only significant predictors of attitudes towards the Marine Corps were income (b=.42, p<.05), talk radio use (b=.40, p<.05), and radio news (b=-.43, p<.05).
Greater family income and greater use of talk radio were positively associated with attitudes toward the Marine Corps whereas greater use of radio news was related to less positive attitudes toward the Marine Corps. Income (b=.45, p<.05) and radio news (b=-.42, p<.10) were significant predictors of attitude toward the Army. Greater income was associated with more positive attitudes toward the Army and greater radio use with less positive attitude toward the Army. Income (b=.28, p<.10) was also a significant predictor in determining the likelihood of joining the Marine Corps. Income (b=.33, p<.05) and radio news use (b=-.39, p<.10) were significant predictors in determining ones likelihood in joining the Army. Greater incomes was associated with more positive attitudes about joining both branches whereas greater radio use was related to less positive attitudes about joining the Army.
Hypothesis 3 compared parents and young adults’ attitudes toward the military and serving in the military. Specifically, Hypothesis 3 predicted parents would have a negative attitude compared to young adults about the military and serving in it.
To assess this question, a one-way MANCOVA was computed for group (young adult or parent) on the dependent variables of: attitude toward the Marine Corps, attitude toward the Army, attitude about joining the Marine Corps, attitude about joining the Army, and the one item indicator of enlisting in the military. Covariates included gender, age, and ethnicity. The omnibus results indicated nearly significant differences for the covariate of gender, Wilks’ λ F(5, 109) = 1.94, p < .10, partial eta2 = .09. Subsequent univariate tests revealed significant differences for gender on the dependent variable of attitude about joining the Army F(1, 117) = 5.64, p < .05, partial eta2 = .05. The pattern of means revealed parents were more supportive of youth joining the Army or Marines than young adults.
Thus, Hypothesis 3 was partially supported. Parent and their children did not differ on their attitudes toward the Marine Corps or the Army. Parents had a more positive attitude about the Marines (Mp = 6.65, sd = 1.69; M ya= 6.46, sd = 1.23) and the Army (Mp = 6.60, sd = 1.67; Mya= 6.08, sd = 1.29) when compared to young adults. Also, they did not differ in terms and support for joining the Marine Corps or Army.
However, males scored higher than females in the Army. Parents were more likely to encourage their young adults to form the Marines (M = 6.50, sd =1.81) and the Army (M = 6.38, sd = 1.84) than young adults.
Hypothesis 7 and Hypothesis 8 predicted parents who have a positive attitude about the military would support their children’s joining the military, and that young adults who have a positive attitude about the military would be more likely to join the military. A correlation matrix was computed measuring attitude toward the Marine Corps, attitude toward the Army, attitude toward joining the Marine Corps, attitude toward joining the Army, and likelihood of enlisting. The results revealed that parents who manifested a more positive attitude about the military were the more likely to support their children’s joining the military with all correlations significant ranging from r = .38 to .86. The same pattern was true for young adults, with all correlations significant ranging from r = .30 to .77.
TABLE 1 TABLE 2 TABLE 3
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