The effects of perceived cultural fit on active duty military wives
Based on cultural consonance theory, the overall aim of this study was to explore the effect of cultural consonance, or cultural fit, within military culture on the psychological well-being of military wives. This study is a secondary data analysis of 8,748 respondents from the Department of Defense 2008 Survey of Active Duty Spouses (ADSS). The sample included all eligible civilian female spouses of active duty male service members. Linear regression showed a significant relationship between the main effect predictor of cultural consonance, operationalized by the Affective Commitment Scale (ACS), and two outcome variables of psychological well-being, the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-4) and the Kessler 6 (K6) scale of psychological distress. ANCOVAs showed that demographic control variables combined with the ACS boosted the amount of variance explained. The ACS retained its significance when adjusted for the effect of demographics, demonstrating that none accounted for an alternative explanation of the outcomes. Binary logistic regressions showed the most striking results. When individual control variables were combined with low cultural consonance scores, a minority of wives had up to thirteen times the odds of having negative psychological well-being outcomes. Frequency of major life events, lowest rank, lowest income, and lowest educational levels were among the factors producing the largest effects when combined with low cultural consonance. Race/ethnicity and family status (children) had no significance. Findings from this study may be used to add cultural consonance as a factor to be considered regarding military cultural competence education, organizational commitment and support of well-being in military wives.