Date of Award

Summer 8-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Emily Bullock-Yowell

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Richard Mohn

Committee Member 2 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 3

Michael Madson

Committee Member 3 Department


Committee Member 4

Bonnie Nicholson

Committee Member 4 Department



Since beginning military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that now characterize the Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) combat eras, unique stressors and conditions have faced service members. Advancements in military medicine have resulted in greater survival rates of combat veterans, but have also increased rates of chronic psychological distress (Schnurr, Lunney, Bovin, & Marx, 2009). Research regarding these concerns has increased as these service members are now returning home and re-entering civilian life and many studies show the detrimental effects on psychosocial functioning following combat including employment difficulties. As unemployment among veterans has dropped since the beginning of 2013 (US Department of Labor, 2014), understanding how veterans are functioning in their new civilian work roles is the next step in better understanding their unique experiences of transitions (Strauser, Lustig, Cogdal, & Uruk, 2006). This study assessed the relationship between PTSS and current work role functioning among OIF and OEF veterans including evaluation of the influence of personal variables including reports of sense of coherence and vocational identity. Results of the study found PTSS and sense of coherence to predict work role functioning and PTSS to predict vocational identity in line with hypotheses. Further, sense of coherence was found to mediate the relationship between PTSS and work role functioning in support of hypotheses. Results indicate that sense of coherence does not moderate the relationship between PTSS and work role functioning nor does it moderate the relationship between PTSS and vocational identity. Additionally, vocational identity was not found to moderate the relationship between PTSS and work role functioning. Clinical implications, limitations, and directions for future research are addressed.