Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Operation Enduring Freedom, 2001- - Veterans, Operation Enduring Freedom, 2001- - Psychological aspects, Iraq War, 2003-2011-Veterans, Iraq War, 2003-2011-Psychological aspects, Soldiers-Mental health-United States, Post-traumatic stress disorder, Veteran reintegration-Psychological aspects, Veterans, OIF, OEF, Posttraumatic growth, PTSD, Trauma, War, Military culture, Civilian culture, Community reintegration


Approximately 2.2 million men and women have been deployed in service of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And veterans are returning to their communities in large numbers, many of them with a range of visible and invisible medical and psychological injuries and needs (Tanielian and Jaycox, 2008; Hoge et al., 2004; Hoge, Auchterloni, and Milliken, 2006). The process of veterans re-entering civilian society following a deployment is known as reintegration (Demers, 2011). While the mental health issues and needs of returning OIF/OEF veterans have been widely studied (Tanielian and Jaycox, 2008) their experiences and struggles related to reintegration remain largely unexplored by researchers (Institute of Medicine; 2010; Doyle and Peterson. 2005). In this paper I explore the reintegration challenges that veterans face from both a micro and a macro perspective. I first use trauma theories as a way to understand the intrapersonal challenges that veterans may face during reintegration. I then use the framework of the military-civilian cultural gap to explore some of the macro level challenges facing OIF/OEF veterans as they reintegrate into their larger civilian communities. Finally, I focus on posttraumatic growth as a potential outcome of both combat-related trauma and reintegration. I present Tedeschi's (2011) model for facilitating posttraumatic growth on a micro-level through individual therapy and discuss ways in which that model may be enacted within the broader civilian community to construct a more conducive civilian arena for posttraumatic growth.




iii, 84 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, 2013. Includes bibliographical references (p. 75-84)