These feelings of difference can also be made more complex by virtue of having absorbed varying degrees of overseas cultures and also different regional American cultures while living in different places as a part of the military brat lifestyle.Bases do form communities, but due to most of them experiencing frequent 100% turnover in just a few years, an adult military brat can never return and find old friends, neighbors or even former teachers, on bases where they grew up. Department of Defense estimates that approximately 15 million Americans are former or current military brats, including those who spent all or part of their childhood and/or adolescence in the lifestyle.Studies show that ex-military kids end up pursuing service-related careers in very high numbers: military service, teaching, counseling, police, nursing and foreign service work being highly represented in military brat career statistics (in comparison to statistics on non-military brat patterns of employment choices).Mary Edwards Wertsch also identified a pattern (for those military brats who do not choose military service) of work that is more independent (self-employment / avoidance of direct subservience to authority figures) and along those lines also favoring creative and artistic professions that offer more independence.
Research has shown that most current and former military brats like the term; however, outside of the military world, the term "military brat" can sometimes be misunderstood by the non-military population, where the word "brat" is often a pejorative term.
Studies show that this group is shaped by several forces.
A major influence is the fact of frequent moves, as the family follows the military member-parent (or in some cases, both parents who are military members) who is transferred from military base to military base, each move usually being hundreds or thousands of miles in distance.
Military brats have been studied extensively, both from the perspective of social psychology and as a distinct and unique American subculture, although less so in terms of long-term impact of the lifestyle.
There are also some gaps in studies of more recent (post-Cold War-era) military brats.