|Title||The Effects of Military Experience on Civic Consciousness|
This study explores how U. S. military service changes veterans’ civic values and behaviors. America faces a loss of civic consciousness, which may be defined as an individual sense of duty to society. Public participation has declined in civic activities ranging from voting to volunteering. A better understanding of veterans, who are approximately 7% of the general population, may provide insights to assist educators, government and community planners, and social scientists in strengthening civic values and participation in greater society. Service providers may apply insights from this study in programs designed to meet veterans’ needs for wellness and lifelong human development. The study was conducted in the context of Mezirow’s theory of transformative learning. The main research question addressed how U. S. military training and experience changed veterans’ civic mindedness and related behaviors. The study used a qualitative grounded theory approach with 22 theoretically-sampled veterans. During in-depth interviews, they discussed how their military experiences affected their values and behaviors. Data was acquired and interpreted through repeated cycles of theoretical sampling, constant comparative analysis, and increasingly refined, integrated coding and memoing. The study presented a theory that serving in the U.S. All-Volunteer Force tends to develop and strengthen positive social values in veterans who experience challenging leadership, learning, and values-immersion experiences. Lessons developed in this study may help promote positive social change by suggesting policies, strategies, learning programs, and further research for increasing civic consciousness in society generally.
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