Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Adventurous activities: A qualitative study of play among OEF/OIF Veterans
by Betthauser, Lisa Marie, M.A., University of Colorado at Denver, 2014, 68; 1531260
Abstract (Summary)

Individuals who have served in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have likely been exposed to combat stress. Existing literature has consistently demonstrated the negative impact of combat stress as a risk factor for post-deployment health issues, such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). One significant, but less studied area that may be affected by the experience of deployment and/or PTSD symptoms is the individual’s engagement in pleasurable, leisure activities or “play”. Clinical and empirical observations have typically focused on PTSD symptoms of avoidance and emotional numbing, contributing to an individual’s loss of interest or participation in pleasurable activities. In contrast, there is literature suggesting that individuals with deployment history or PTSD may actually seek out activities that are risky or that provide an intense level of physiological and psychological arousal. This study qualitatively examined leisure and play among a sample of OEF/OIF Veterans, exploring both possible avoidance and seeking of intense or risky leisure experiences. Findings support the proposed dichotomy, such that there appears to be a subset of this sample that seek to simulate the “rush” experienced in combat by engaging in intense, risky activities, while other Veterans in this sample tend to avoid participation in such activities due to depression or anxiety. Future research could examine whether increased access to safe, affordable leisure activities may address these issues and promote psychological and physical well-being.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Allen, Elizabeth
Commitee: Brenner, Lisa A., Grigsby, Jim
School: University of Colorado at Denver
Department: Psychology (Clinical Psychology)
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: MAI 51/04M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Mental health, Military studies, Recreation
Keywords: Leisure, Mental health, OEF/OIF veterans, PTSD, Qualitative
Publication Number: 1531260
ISBN: 9781267830869
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