Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Identity Development and Loss in Military Transitions from Special Operations Forces to Civilian Life: An Exploratory Conceptualization for Treating Our Nation's Elite Warriors
by Garner, Jessica D., Psy.D., The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, 2019, 144; 13419439
Abstract (Summary)

Service members leaving the military are faced with a myriad of challenges as they transition back to civilian life, including loss of financial resources, career, and sometimes physical and psychological wounds from military service. Often overlooked, however, is the construct of identity loss and how leaving the military, either voluntarily or involuntarily, impacts these aforementioned variables and one’s sense of self and purpose. This is especially true for our nation’s elite Special Operations Forces. Special operators are mission-driven and possess highly distinct character traits that allow them to perform effectively and efficiently under significant amounts of prolonged physical and psychological stress. Therefore, when considering post-military adjustment, it is critical to consider the cultural and contextual factors that impact these transitions. This critical analysis and problem conceptualization reviews existing literature on identity development through the lenses of Erik Erikson, Daniel Levinson, and George Vaillant, three prominent theorists on identity, and discusses various contextual factors that influence the transition process including military culture, loss of camaraderie, and the impact of physical and psychological wounds. Further, this dissertation proposes an interpretive framework to help psychologists and other mental health professionals provide culturally competent care for this unique population of the military and proposes a model to better understand disruptive transitions. Directions for future research are also discussed.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Komie, Michael
Commitee: Foltz, Robert
School: The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
Department: Clinical Psychology
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-B 80/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Clinical psychology, Military studies
Keywords: Identity development, Identity loss, Military culture, Special operations, Suicide, Veteran
Publication Number: 13419439
ISBN: 978-1-392-07464-0
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