Female Student Veterans: A Survey of Current Transition Challenges and Issues from Active Duty to Collegiate Life
Biondoletti, Nicole Starr
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Research on the student veteran population is extremely limited. The literature does tell us, however, that mental health difficulties in veterans has been present for thousands of years, and that recent warfare has led to a steady increased in posttraumatic stress and suicidality. In addition, there has been an exponential increase in veterans enrolling in post-secondary institutions due to the appealing benefits of the post-9/11 GI Bill. The result of these two facts are a relatively new population with unique challenges and needs. The present study utilized the PTSD Checklist, Military version (PCL-M), the Suicidal Behaviors Questionnaire-Revised (SBQ-R), the Combat Exposure Scale (CES), and a variety of demographic and academic variables to analyze the transitional difficulties faced by female student veterans as they return to civilian and student life. Grade-point average (GPA) was used as the main outcome variable for academic success. Results demonstrated a strong positive correlation between posttraumatic stress and suicidality, however combat exposure did not significant correlate with suicidality. The results also found that having either a mental disability or having both a mental and physical disability significantly differed from having no disability in regard to suicidality. Additionally, a significant difference was found between married and divorced female student veterans, with divorced females endorsing higher levels of suicidality. Combat exposure, length of deployment(s), posttraumatic stress, suicidality, perceived academic and perceived social support all yielded insignificant results in terms of their ability to predict GPAs. Finally, combat exposure and branch of service were also insignificant predictors of posttraumatic stress. The limitations, implications, and arguments for further research of the current study are discussed.