This thesis was provoked by the lack of sufficient information regarding military members' perceptions of the war in Iraq. While the existing literature taps into the effects of self-selection, socialization, and the military culture on military members' formation of beliefs, few studies have focused on those beliefs during a time of war. Because of this, I administered online surveys to 61 cadets in the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program at a large state university in the mid-Atlantic region which I will refer to as Cadet University (CU). The primary goal of my study was to compare pre-war support for the war and the president to current support for the war and president as affected by various war-time events. However, other independent variables that were thought to affect levels of support were also taken into account. Results showed that cadets' current levels of support for the war and the president are significantly lower than pre-war levels of support. Aspects of self-selection, levels of alienation, and specific war-time events each played a role in dictating current levels of support for both the war and the president. Future research should aim for longitudinal methods that can track actual fluctuations in support rather than perceived fluctuations.


Sociology and Anthropology

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2008 Laura Ayer