MFRI announces top research award on military and veteran families

Study explores WWII GI Bill, marriage and socioeconomic outcomes

If you would like to revisit the evening's discussion, please view the archived version of this event.

Research exploring the World War II GI Bill, marriage and socioeconomic outcomes earned the Military Family Research Institute’s annual award for Excellence in Research on Military and Veteran Families.

Sixteen distinguished reviewers examined all the research on military families published in 2015, more than 150 articles in all. Multiple rounds of review yielded the winning article: “War and marriage: Assortative mating and the World War II GI Bill,” by Matthew F. Larsen, T. J. McCarthy, Jeremy G. Moulton, Marianne E. Page and Ankur J. Patel. The authors’ research, detailed in the publication, used quantitative research methods to explore linkages among the World War II GI Bill, marriage and generational impacts on socioeconomic status.

 “Our goal at MFRI is to increase the impact of research, and this award helps to strengthen connections between researchers, policy makers and practitioners,” said Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, director of MFRI. “We are thrilled to be able recognize and celebrate the excellent work of these outstanding scholars.”

The article appeared in the October 2015 issue of Demography, a peer-reviewed journal that presents the work of scholars across a variety of disciplines, including anthropology, biology, economics, geography, history, psychology, public health, sociology, and statistics.

The award was presented on Nov. 16, at a panel discussion based on MFRI’s forthcoming book, tentatively titled A Battle Plan for Supporting Military and Veteran Families. The event was hosted by the Association of the U.S. Army and held at its headquarters in Arlington, Va.

MFRI established the award to recognize the year’s best research on military-connected families. It is given annually to the authors of research published in the last year that combines exceptional rigor with important insights about military and veteran families. Nominations for this award are neither solicited nor accepted. Instead, a panel reviews all published research to determine the winner of the award.

MFRI is also pleased to announce the two other articles that received top honors:

Characteristics and use of services among literally homeless and unstably housed U.S. veterans with custody of minor children,” authored by Jack Tsai, Ph.D., Robert A. Rosenheck, M.D., Wesley J. Kasprow, Ph.D., M.P.H., and Vincent Kane, M.S.W.; and

Perspectives of family and veterans on family programs to support reintegration of returning veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder,” authored by Ellen P. Fischer, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences; Michelle D. Sherman, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center; Jean C. McSweeney, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences: Jeffrey M. Pyne and Richard R. Owen, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

About the authors of "War and marriage: Assortative mating and the World War II GI Bill:”

/Matthew F. Larsen
Matthew F. Larsen
Department of Economics, Lafayette College, Easton, PA.
T. J. McCarthy
T. J. McCarthy
Sol Price School of Public Policy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Jeremy G. Moulton.jpg
Jeremy G. Moulton
Department of Public Policy, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC.
Marianne E. Page
Marianne E. Page
Department of Economics, University of California Davis, Davis, CA.
Ankur J. Patel
U.S. Department of the Treasury, Washington, DC.

2015 Recipient

Lundquist, J., & Xu, Z. (2014). Reinstitutionalizing families: Life course policy and marriage in the military. Journal of Marriage and Family 76(5), 1063-1081.

Jennifer Lundquist, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Zhun Xu, Howard University, argue that structural conditions of modern military service – including deployment, frequent moves and overarching characteristics of military employment – shape the relationships between spouses and service members. Through the article, the authors bring together life course literatures on turning points, the welfare state, and linked lives to show how military policies are part of an overarching institutional culture that directly and indirectly promotes marriage.

Research on Military an dVeteran Families Award 2015 winner
Research Award Recipient co-author Zhun Xu with MFRI Director Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, left, and Patty Barron, of AUSA, which sponsored the award dinner.

The award was presented on Sept. 23, during MFRI’s Battle Plan for Supporting Families Symposium held in Fairfax, Va.

MFRI is proud to announce the following finalists for this award.

2015 Finalists

Gewirtz, A.H., McMorris, B.J., Hanson, S., & Davis, L. (2014). Family adjustment of deployed and nondeployed mothers in families with a parent deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 45(6), 465-477.

Renshaw, K.D., Campbell, S.B., Meis, L., Erbes, C. (2014). Gender differences in associations of PTSD symptom clusters with relationship distress in U.S. Vietnam veterans and their partners. Journal of Traumatic Stress 27(3), 283-290.

Foran, H. M., Heyman, R. E., & Slep, A. M. S. (2014). Emotional abuse and its unique ecological correlates among military personnel and spouses. Psychology of Violence, 4(2), 128-142. doi: 10.1037/a0034536

Theiss, J.A., & Knobloch, L.K. (2014). Relational turbulence and the post-deployment transition: Self, partner, and relationship focused turbulence. Communication Research 4(1), 27-51.