Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Research Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



First Advisor

Vida L. Tyc, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Richard T. Elmore, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Theodore G. Petersen, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Robert A. Taylor


This study examined veteran service members from all eras, ranks, branches, and time of service to evaluate the mental and physical health impact of the Afghanistan Withdrawal on their functioning and utilization of healthcare services. To our knowledge, this is the first scientific study examining the Afghanistan Withdrawal's impact on veterans. The researchers aimed to better understand service member attitudes about the withdrawal and their motivation to serve again based on their experience. Qualitative responses were requested to further understand veteran opinions on the withdrawal.

The study sample consisted of 112 veterans from one or more of the United States Armed Services branches who were 18 years of age or older. Results from this study found that 52% of the veterans surveyed disagreed with the Afghanistan Withdrawal and the majority felt that the withdrawal was executed poorly. General attitudes about the withdrawal were significantly related to the attitudes about the quality of the withdrawal. Service members who reported more behavioral distress were more likely to disagree with the withdrawal and attended more mental healthcare visits. Behavioral distress and attitudes toward the withdrawal were not significant predictors of future motivation to serve. Beyond these findings, review of the self-reported qualitative measures, showed some major patterns concerning attitudes, experience, behavioral health distress, and expressed sentiments about the war and withdrawal. One cannot fully conceptualize the complexities of loss and sacrifice within the military population, but these themes resonate throughout the data. There is hope that these findings will spark policy change and consideration of the impact of war-based military decisions on service members moving forward.

Available for download on Sunday, February 15, 2026