Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Veterans’ experiences of reintegration and succ...

Electronic data

  • 2019parryDClinPsy

    Final published version, 3.73 MB, PDF document

    Available under license: CC BY-ND: Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

Text available via DOI:

View graph of relations

Veterans’ experiences of reintegration and successfully managing post-traumatic stress

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

  • Gemma Parry
Publication date2019
Number of pages161
Awarding Institution
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


It is established within this thesis that some veterans experience problems reintegrating into civilian life after discharge from the military. Difficult and traumatic events during service can cause an emotional aftermath that includes post-traumatic stress and avoidant coping. Much of the veterans’ research literature is quantitative, so this thesis sought to build upon the small qualitative research literature that gives a voice to this unique group of individuals. First, the literature review explored female veterans’ experiences of reintegration into civilian life, synthesising 11 studies using Noblit and Hare’s meta-ethnographic approach. Findings outlined a process within six themes that started with experiences in the military and ended with reintegration. Implications included improving female veteran’s access to peer support on discharge, educating healthcare practitioners to help identify past military service and particular needs of female veterans, e.g. gender-sensitive support, and further qualitative research into military sexual trauma and experiences of reintegration cross-nationally.
Secondly, the empirical study focused on veterans’ experiences of successfully managing post-traumatic stress. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with six veterans and data were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Findings within three themes explained how participants went on a journey from denial of their difficulties and hitting ‘rock bottom’, to eventually ‘circling back around’ to gain a positive sense of identity and belonging within the veteran community. Implications included piloting and evaluating peer support groups as an early intervention for veterans within National Health Service and community veteran organisation settings, as well as promoting referral to community organisations for informal peer support. Finally, a critical appraisal expanded on discussions of the military-veteran identity and veteran-civilian divide as broad problematic concepts across both findings. The section ended with consideration of bias that may come from having contact with the participant group outside of the research. Further implications are recommended throughout this section.