Given that enlistment in the U.S. military is completely voluntary, there has been a great deal of interest in identifying the various factors that might explain why some people join the military, whereas others do not. The current study expanded on this line of literature by estimating the extent to which genetic and environmental factors explained variance in the liability for lifetime participation in the military. Analysis of twin pairs drawn from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health) revealed that 82% of the variance was the result of genetic factors, 18% of the variance was the result of nonshared environmental factors, and none of the variance was accounted for by shared environmental factors. In light of a number of limitations, replication studies are needed to determine the robustness of these findings and whether they are generalizable to other samples and populations.
Beaver, Kevin M.; Barnes, J. C.; Schwartz, Joesph A.; and Boutwell, Brian B., "Enlisting in the Military: The Influential Role of Genetic Factors" (2015). Criminology and Criminal Justice Faculty Publications. 79.
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