Longitudinal evaluation of a preparation program for mandatory military service

Moshe Israelashvili*, Orit Wegman-Rozi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

This multivariate longitudinal study explored the relative contribution of 12th-grade students' (a) participation in a preparation program for mandatory military service, (b) feelings of adjustment at high school, and (c) perceptions of school climate to their evaluation of the program's impact on them, as well as to their later adjustment to military service. The sample included 247 male and female 12th graders, divided into an intervention group and a control group. The intervention group participated in a 10-meeting preparation program focusing on the enhancement of empowerment feelings regarding entrance into military service. We conducted measurements at three points in time: (a) before exposure to the preparation program, (b) after exposure to the preparation program, and (c) 6-12 months after military enlistment. Research findings supported the notion that the preparation program had a short-term impact on students' feelings of preparedness for military service. Activities in which students were directly exposed to military life or to Army representatives gained more positive evaluations. But some of the activities conducted by school staff were also positively related to the overall evaluation of the program's contribution to preparedness. However, in the long run, students' later military adjustment was not related to participation in the preparation program but rather to their pre-intervention attitudes toward military enlistment as well as their preliminary general feeling of adjustment. Altogether, study findings indicate that the preparation program had a positive impact mainly for those students who manage well in high school before enlistment. Hence, it is suggested that efforts to foster school-to-Army transition should unfold in a three-step process: (a) preliminary screening for maladaptive behavior, (b) pre-enlistment preparation, and (c) post-enlistment support to all recruits. The current longitudinal study explored the short-term and long-term effects of participation in an intervention program designed to foster students' transition from high school to compulsory military service in Israel. The program's potential contributions to students' preparation were measured while taking into account other potential determinants of their preparedness for military service, such as their general feeling of adjustment and perceptions of school-related variables.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-196
Number of pages22
JournalMilitary Psychology
Volume19
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2007

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