From combat to classroom: an examination of combat trauma's effects on military veteran's relationships and adjustment to college

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Steven J. Boul (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Christine Murray

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to test a model of veterans' college adjustment that demonstrated how combat exposure can lead to psychological distress and a lack of empathy and trust, how those variables interact and affect social support and classroom interactions, and how all the variables effect college adjustment self-efficacy. The study quantified the prevalence of PTSD, anxiety, depression, and stress in the student veteran population, finding that rates were lower than in a previous study on student veterans and on par with the active duty military. Although the proposed SEM model did not fit the data, subsequent stepwise regressions found that combat exposure was significantly inversely associated with trust and empathy, and directly correlated with psychological distress. Psychological distress was found to inversely affect trust, empathy, social support, alienation in the classroom, and feeling connected to other students and faculty. Trust and empathy scores were found to affect social support, and combat exposure and psychological distress were found to affect social support through their influence on trust and empathy. Social support was found to have the largest influence on college self-efficacy adjustment scores. In addition, the study found that gender affected the outcomes of the model. Implications of these results were discussed, along with limitations to the study and possible future research.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2015
Combat Trauma, Empathy, Psychological Distress, PTSD, Social Support, Trust
Veterans $x Education (Higher)
Veterans $x Mental health
Veterans $x Social networks
Combat $x Psychological aspects
Post-traumatic stress disorder $x Social aspects
Empathy $x Social aspects
Trust $x Social aspects
Student adjustment

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