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Self-Reported Cognitive Symptoms in Military Veteran College Students

Description

An increasing number of military veterans are enrolling in college, primarily due to the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which provides educational benefits to veterans who served on active duty since September 11, 2001. With rigorous training, active combat situations, and exposure

An increasing number of military veterans are enrolling in college, primarily due to the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which provides educational benefits to veterans who served on active duty since September 11, 2001. With rigorous training, active combat situations, and exposure to unexpected situations, the veteran population is at a higher risk for traumatic brain injury (TBI), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and depression. All of these conditions are associated with cognitive consequences, including attention deficits, working memory problems, and episodic memory impairments. Some conditions, particularly mild TBI, are not diagnosed or treated until long after the injury when the person realizes they have cognitive difficulties. Even mild cognitive problems can hinder learning in an academic setting, but there is little data on the frequency and severity of cognitive deficits in veteran college students. The current study examines self-reported cognitive symptoms in veteran students compared to civilian students and how those symptoms relate to service-related conditions. A better understanding of the pattern of self-reported symptoms will help researchers and clinicians determine the veterans who are at higher risk for cognitive and academic difficulties.

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Created

Date Created
2016-05

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Academic success and well-being following OEF/OIF deployment

Description

As many as one-third of OEF/OIF soldiers and combat veterans may be struggling with less visible psychological injuries. Military/veteran students may face heightened difficulties as they are not only adjusting to civilian life but also transitioning to college life. University

As many as one-third of OEF/OIF soldiers and combat veterans may be struggling with less visible psychological injuries. Military/veteran students may face heightened difficulties as they are not only adjusting to civilian life but also transitioning to college life. University administrators and staff have been charged to address their transitional needs and to promote their academic success. Despite significant influx in enrollment with the passing of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, research on OEF/OIF service members and veterans in higher education remains limited. Utilizing self-report measures, the current study examined the psychosocial functioning of 323 military/veteran students enrolled at Arizona State University who served at least one combat deployment as part of OEF/OIF. The study further investigated whether enlisting for educational benefits and utilizing campus programs/services were associated with more positive academic persistence decisions. Participants were also asked to rate ASU's programming for military/veteran students as well as suggest campus programs/services to promote their academic success. More PTSD symptoms, depression, anxiety, and anger/aggression were found to be associated with less cultural congruity and lower perceived social support. Cultural congruity and social support were significant predictors of academic persistence decisions. Participants who reported utilizing more campus programs/services also tended to endorse more positive persistence decisions. No significant differences in persistence decisions were found between participants who enlisted in the military for education benefits and those who enlisted for non-educational reasons. Approximately two-thirds reported utilizing academic advising services and Veteran Benefits and Certifications. Library services, financial aid services, and ASU sporting events were the next most frequently utilized. More than 91% rated ASU's programming satisfactory or better. Over 71% of participants indicated that increasing recognition of their military experience would facilitate their academic success. Nearly 40% recommended a military/veteran student lounge and improvements to VA education benefits counseling. Another 30% recommended that ASU provide professional development for faculty/staff on military/veteran readjustment issues, improve the re-enrollment process following deployment/training, offer a veteran-specific orientation, and establish a department or center for military/veteran programming. Findings are discussed in light of Tinto's interactionist model of college student attrition, and implications for university mental health providers are presented.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2012

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When hurt heroes do harm: collective guilt and leniency toward war-veteran transgressors

Description

Protectors who do harm are often punished more severely because their crime is perceived as a betrayal of trust. Two experiments test whether this will generalize to protectors who incur harm while serving in their protective role, and if not,

Protectors who do harm are often punished more severely because their crime is perceived as a betrayal of trust. Two experiments test whether this will generalize to protectors who incur harm while serving in their protective role, and if not, whether collective guilt for the harm they suffered provides an explanation. Study 1 tested competing hypotheses that a veteran (versus civilian) with PTSD would be punished either more harshly because of the trust betrayal, or more leniently because of increased guilt about the harm the veteran suffered during war. Men and women were both more lenient toward a veteran (versus civilian) but this effect was mediated by collective guilt only among men. In Study 2, guilt inductions increased leniency among participants less likely to classify the veteran as an in-group member (women, low national identifiers), but not in those who are more likely to classify the veteran as an in-group member (men, high national identifiers), who were lenient without any guilt inductions.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2015

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Procedural justice, veteran identity and legal legitimacy in veteran treatment courts

Description

In the wake of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, courts and social service systems across the country have begun establishing veterans treatment courts (VTC). The first VTC was created in 2004 and there are now over 300 in

In the wake of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, courts and social service systems across the country have begun establishing veterans treatment courts (VTC). The first VTC was created in 2004 and there are now over 300 in at least 35 states. Yet, their underlying assumptions have not been clearly articulated and their functioning and outcomes have not been well tested. These courts aim to reduce rates of incarceration and recidivism among justice-involved veterans and draw heavily on the structure and assumptions of drug and mental health courts. However, VTCs are different in important ways. Unlike other problem solving courts, VTCs actively express gratitude to criminal defendants (for past military service) and have the ability to connect participants to a socially-esteemed identity. Earlier problem solving courts have drawn on Tyler’s theory of procedural justice to predict a path from procedurally fair treatment and social bonds with court personnel through changes in social identity to increased perceptions of legal legitimacy and, ultimately, program completion and reduced recidivism. The present study tested a modified, version of Tyler’s theory that incorporates gratitude and focuses on veteran identity as the mediating construct between fair treatment and perceptions of legal legitimacy. A cross-sectional survey design was used with a convenience sample (N = 188) of participants in two Arizona VTCs. The results indicate that perceptions of procedural justice, perceived social bonds and receipt of gratitude are positively associated with both veteran identity and perceptions of legal legitimacy. Further, veteran identity was found to be a significant mediator between the first three constructs and legal legitimacy. Finally, neither recidivism risk nor race/ethnicity moderated the relationships. The study supports the importance of acknowledging past military service and enhancing the level of veteran identity among VTC participants. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2016

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Service-related conditions and higher-order cognitive processing in military veteran college students

Description

Military veterans have a significantly higher incidence of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), depression, and Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) compared to civilians. Military veterans also represent a rapidly growing subgroup of college students, due in part to the robust and

Military veterans have a significantly higher incidence of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), depression, and Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) compared to civilians. Military veterans also represent a rapidly growing subgroup of college students, due in part to the robust and financially incentivizing educational benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The overlapping cognitively impacting symptoms of service-related conditions combined with the underreporting of mTBI and psychiatric-related conditions, make accurate assessment of cognitive performance in military veterans challenging. Recent research findings provide conflicting information on cognitive performance patterns in military veterans. The purpose of this study was to determine whether service-related conditions and self-assessments predict performance on complex working memory and executive function tasks for military veteran college students. Sixty-one military veteran college students attending classes at Arizona State University campuses completed clinical neuropsychological tasks and experimental working memory and executive function tasks. The results revealed that a history of mTBI significantly predicted poorer performance in the areas of verbal working memory and decision-making. Depression significantly predicted poorer performance in executive function related to serial updating. In contrast, the commonly used clinical neuropsychological tasks were not sensitive service-related conditions including mTBI, PTSD, and depression. The differing performance patterns observed between the clinical tasks and the more complex experimental tasks support that researchers and clinicians should use tests that sufficiently tax verbal working memory and executive function when evaluating the subtle, higher-order cognitive deficits associated with mTBI and depression.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2017

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Discovering the Unique Assets of Veterans in Engineering: A Strengths-Based Thematic Analysis of Veterans’ Narratives

Description

Prior research has provided evidence to suggest that veterans exhibit unique assets that benefit them in engineering education and engineering industry. However, there is little evidence to determine whether their assets are due to military service or other demographic factors

Prior research has provided evidence to suggest that veterans exhibit unique assets that benefit them in engineering education and engineering industry. However, there is little evidence to determine whether their assets are due to military service or other demographic factors such as age, maturity, or gender. The aim of this study is to discover, better understand, and disseminate the unique assets that veterans gained through military service and continue to employ as engineering students or professional engineers. This strength-based thematic analysis investigated the semi-structured narrative interviews of 18 military veterans who are now engineering students or professionals in engineering industry. Using the Funds of Knowledge framework, veterans’ Funds of Knowledge were identified and analyzed for emergent themes. Participants exhibited 10 unique veterans’ Funds of Knowledge. Utilizing analytical memos, repeated reflection, and iterative analysis, two overarching themes emerged, Effective Teaming in Engineering and Adapting to Overcome Challenges. Additionally, a niche concept of Identity Crafting was explored using the unique narratives of two participants. This study provides empirical evidence of military veterans experientially learning valuable assets in engineering from their military service. A better understanding of the veterans’ Funds of Knowledge presented in this study provides valuable opportunities for their utilization in engineering education and engineering industry.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2020

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Student Veterans’ Career Decision-Making and College Stress: College Environment, Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms, and Sense of Coherence

Description

Given the post 9/11 influx of veteran students in higher education and the importance of early career decision-making for establishment of a post-graduation careers, understanding factors that help and hinder the college success and career decision-making of student veterans is

Given the post 9/11 influx of veteran students in higher education and the importance of early career decision-making for establishment of a post-graduation careers, understanding factors that help and hinder the college success and career decision-making of student veterans is needed. The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of veterans in higher education in relation to career decision-making difficulties. Thus, the influence of variables related to campus environment (mentoring and cultural congruity), experiences of post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) and college stress, and resilience as evidenced by sense of coherence (SOC) was investigated.

A sample of 239 United States Armed Forces veterans (171 male, 67 female, 1 nonbinary) enrolled in institutions of higher education across the United States was recruited through an online program. In addition to a demographic sheet, participants completed self-report measures assessing cultural congruity, sense of coherence, post-traumatic stress symptoms, mentoring, college stress, and career decision-making difficulties.

Hierarchical multiple regressions revealed that of the two constructs comprising campus environment, only cultural congruity was a significant and negative predictor of college stress. Mentoring was not a significant predictor. Post-traumatic stress symptoms predicted college stress above and beyond the variance predicted by college environment. The greater student veterans’ post-traumatic stress symptoms, the more college stress they reported experiencing. A moderated hierarchical regression revealed that college environment did not moderate the relation between post-traumatic stress symptoms and college stress. College stress was found to be a positive predictor of career decision-making difficulties. Sense of coherence did not moderate the relation between college stress and career decision-making difficulties.

Findings are discussed in the context of Schlossberg’s transition model, which posits that individuals will navigate the transition process based on their perceptions of the transition and their personal assets and liabilities, factors that influence coping ability. Limitations and clinical implications for working with student veterans are presented. The importance of early intervention to enhance cultural congruity and address post-traumatic stress symptoms and career decision-making difficulties among student veterans is discussed.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2020