Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Racism-United States, Veterans-United States-Psychology, Racism in the workplace, United States-Race relations, African American soldiers-Social conditions, Post-traumatic stress disorder, Combat-Psychological aspects, Race, Trauma, Military, Combat, Veteran, African American, Racism, Quantitative


The purpose of the quantitative study was to explore the experience of racism in the United States military in the context of the historical evolution of racial integration policies. The present study aims to clarify how factors such as race, era of service, exposure to combat, rank and gender influence the experience of racism. A total of 112 veterans completed a survey online or in person through their local American Legion, VFW, or student center. The survey was a 22-item measure with six demographic questions and 14 Likert scale questions designed to solicit feedback about a wide range of experiences. Results indicated that veterans of color experienced significantly more racism than white veterans, enlisted veterans experienced more racism than officers, and female veterans experienced more racism than male veterans. Surprisingly, a later discharge date was correlated with an increase in reported racism, when the reverse was expected to be true. Additionally, veterans who reported exposure to combat experienced more racism than non-combat veterans. Since some of these findings were unexpected, possible explanations and confounding variables are discussed in detail. These findings inform new directions for future research and important implications for social work practice and policy in the military, VA healthcare system, and beyond.




iv, 98 pages. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, 2014. Includes bibliographical references (pages 69-77)