Returning vets face ‘warring identities’ distress

A long road back from soldier to civilian

A new study takes a look at challenges to returning veterans beyond PTSD and major depression. Ironically, many vets told interviewers that their combat deployments were a time when they felt “safe.” Many felt they were “starting all over again” when they went home.

Much of the research on post-combat mental health of veterans focuses on problems like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depression. A paper co-authored by R. Tyson Smith, visiting assistant professor of sociology, takes an even broader snapshot of returning soldiers’ mental state by focusing instead on the identity conflict many face when transitioning from soldier to civilian life and how that conflict manifests as mental distress. The paper was published in the January issue of Society and Mental Health.