Although Latinos have historically served in the U.S. military, recent increases in the number of Latinas who have been recruited for the military make it imperative to explore how this experience affects their well-being. The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of Latinas who are serving or have served in the U.S. military, focusing on their identity and gender roles. I utilized a qualitative research design, wherein I interviewed four Latinas currently serving in the U.S. Army. The focus of the study was how Latinas experience their gender identity and gender roles through the perspective of identity theory and social identity theory. It also explored how they negotiate these aspects in a military environment. I used an interpretative phenomenological approach for this study, as this method allowed sufficient flexibility to delve into previously unexplored concepts in this population. Furthermore, I utilized the Marianismo Beliefs Scale (MBS; Castillo, Perez, Castillo, & Ghosheh, 2010) to perform data triangulation and to have a better understanding on how the women’s belief structures affect their experience. This research study is significant because it informed a salient gap in the literature regarding Latinas and the military. Furthermore, it will allow mental health practitioners to have a clearer understanding of how Latina military women experience military culture, which can affect treatment decision.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (PsyD) -- Psychology; Hispanic American soldiers -- Women -- Mental health; United States -- Armed Forces -- Women; Gender identity -- Case studies

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Castañeda-Sound, Carrie