Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Research Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



First Advisor

Richard T. Elmore Jr.

Second Advisor

Kristi Van Sickle

Third Advisor

John Frongillo

Fourth Advisor

Mary Beth Kenkel


The present study evaluated the challenges associated with transitioning from active duty to collegiate life. This included examining if psychological factors and demographic variables influence a male veteran’s ability to succeed in an academic institution. Success was defined by how well they performed in school measured by their self-reported grade point average. Other measures included the Combat Exposure Scale (CES), PTSD Checklist- Military Version (PCL-M), and Suicidal Behavior Questionnaire-Revised (SBQ-R). This study aimed to contribute to the limited research among student veterans, as well as inform academic institutions of how to approach improving retention rates among prior military members. Results of an online survey revealed the majority of participants reported obtaining over a 3.6 grade point average, and perceived academic support was a significant predictor of academic success. Over 26% of the sample endorsed clinically significant suicidal ideation, and post traumatic stress, while the majority denied ever seeking counseling or treatment. Combat Exposure was shown to predict both post traumatic stress and suicidal behavior. In addition, there was a significant difference between type of service connected disability and suicidal behavior. Those individuals who reported sustaining a mental or both physical and mental disabilities reported significantly higher levels of suicidality.


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