Date of Award

7-25-2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Committee Chair

Genevieve Arnaut, Psy.D., Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Michelle Guyton, Ph.D., ABPP

Abstract

A qualitative study designed to explore the experiences of incarcerated military veterans was conducted. Eleven inmates who identified as military veterans were interviewed about their premilitary, during military, and postmilitary experiences. These interviews were coded and analyzed according to grounded theory methodology. Out of these data a model for understanding the relationship between military involvement and later criminal behavior was developed. The resulting model described a series of life experiences that flowed from a perception of fairly well-adjusted childhoods in early life to an ultimate disconnection from society as adults. Specifically, interviewees talked about two premilitary factors: Belief in a Normal Childhood and growing up in a Military Environment. Upon entering the military, participants described Initial Positive Adjustment, followed by Military Disillusionment. As a result of their military involvement, nearly all participants came to experience a sense of disconnection from society that involved experiences of Reintegration Difficulties, Lack of Support/Sense of Injustice, and Continued Military Identity, that occurred after active duty.

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