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Quality of Life of Marines and Families Remains Strong

Release Date: 10/7/2008

HQMC (MR),  Results of the 2007 Quality of Life (QOL) in the Marine Corps study were released today.   Study results reveal that despite the Global War on Terror (GWOT) and high operational demand, Marines and families are satisfied with their mission and the support provided by the Marine Corps.QUANTICO, VA –

The 2007 study received responses from 8,135 randomly selected Marines, and 2,172 spouses. The responding active duty Marines represented Marines on installations (including Marines in the operating forces); independent duty Marines (this group included Marines who were not stationed at one of the installations of interest in this study and who were not recruiters); and recruiters.

The Marine Corps began assessing QOL in 1993, and administered the fourth iteration of the study in 2007, the first since the inception of the GWOT. The intent of the study was to determine how Marines’ and spouses’ perceptions of, and satisfaction with, QOL have changed over the last 15 years. The survey measures the affective (happiness) and cognitive (satisfaction) components relative to QOL in a wide variety of specific aspects of their lives (life domains). These domains include such areas as housing, compensation, healthcare, marriage, friendships, and children.

The study, which is sponsored by the Deputy Commandant for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, revealed that satisfaction levels did not significantly decline across any of the life domains, and in some instances, improved since 2002. For example, career intentions and organizational commitment remain high, and family members report an increase in satisfaction with their lives. 

Similar to previous studies, barracks residents had the lowest satisfaction score with regard to housing. However, improvements made by the Marine Corps in constructing barracks are having a positive impact. The study found improved scores since 2002, and that the components that barracks residents are most dissatisfied with are the amount of space and privacy – issues that will always be present with barracks life and shared housing. 


Additionally, both Marines and spouses place a high value on their children’s educational opportunities and their child care options. For example, 40% of Marines and spouses report that their children’s educational opportunities have a positive impact on their plans or desires to remain part of the Marine Corps. Marines and spouses also reported high levels of satisfaction with the quality of professional child care they were receiving and that there was no significant difference between military vice civilian child care. However, distinct differences were observed in the satisfaction levels with children’s educational and child care opportunities at individual installations indicating areas of possible deficiencies that require further analysis.

Another critical finding from the study was that the medical care benefit has a strong positive impact on the retention intentions of Marines and spouses. However, this impact, and subsequent satisfaction, varied by installation, thus indicating that some installation may have medical care deficiencies, also requiring further analysis. For spouses of Marines, the key factors (or drivers) that have a high impact on spouse satisfaction with medical care benefits are: treatment, out of pocket expenses, availability of appointments, and promptness of payments.

Income and standard of living continues to remain the life domain with the lowest level of satisfaction. Currently 20% of Marines report being financially distressed, that is they can barely afford basic necessities. However, the income and standard of living domain has improved since 2002, and is the highest satisfaction score of the four Marine Corps QOL studies.

According to the 2007 study, the leisure and recreation domain is a key driver of satisfaction with overall Marine QOL. Marines were most likely to report lower levels of satisfaction with: 1) the amount of their leisure time; and 2) the cost of leisure activities. Similar to other life domain analysis, distinct differences were observed in the satisfaction with leisure and recreation activities on individual installations.

The most critical findings from the study was that Marines with a deployment history in support of GWOT actually have a slightly higher overall QOL score than their counterparts without a deployment history. That is, the study found that deployments in support of the GWOT have not had a negative impact on QOL. 


The Study Team will continue to evaluate these issues in detail in an effort to maintain Marine Corps QOL improvements. The subsequent analysis will provide the Marine Corps with valuable information, which will be used to develop funding strategies and evolve programs and services to better meet the current and future needs of Marines and their families.  A comprehensive report has been published and is available for review on the M&RA home page (

For more information about the 2007 QOL Study, contact Jeff Capellini at DSN 278- 9297, 703-784-9297 or email:

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