Date of Award

5-1-2011

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Chwalisz, Kathleen

Abstract

Researchers examining issues of recent veterans of military conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have found evidence of psychological distress and difficulty adjusting to civilian life post-deployment. Changes in educational benefits offered to veterans will likely facilitate greater numbers of veterans to enter academia in the coming years. This survey of 49 college student veterans at a large Midwestern university was designed to reveal the frequency and intensity of psychological distress, PTSD and alcohol misuse. Relationships between these constructs and the constructs of social support, stigma and barriers to psychological care, life satisfaction, traumatic experiences, attitudes toward help seeking, and service utilization are reported. A history of mental health service utilization since military service was reported by many respondents. PTSD and alcohol misuse symptoms were reported by many college student veterans and incidence in this sample was greater than the incidence previously reported in the literature on veterans. Stigma was found to be negatively correlated with attitudes toward help seeking. Post deployment social support was found to be negatively associated with psychological distress and positively associated with service utilization. Implications and limitations of these findings are presented and future directions for research and intervention are discussed.

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