Date of Award

Winter 12-10-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Jalin Johnson

Second Advisor

Dr. Carlos Guzman

Third Advisor

Dr. Keith Larick

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this phenomenological study was to describe the perceptions of Operation Enduring and Iraqi Freedom veterans with PTSD, who are transitioning from active duty to civilian life, regarding their participation in the Disabled Transition Assistance Program.

Methodology: The methodology for this research study will be qualitative from a phenomenological perspective. When thinking of research as it pertains to qualitative methods, it is appropriate to use when a researcher is trying to study the lived experiences of individuals (Flipp, 2014; Patton, 2015). This method will describe perceptions of Operation Enduring and Iraqi Freedom veterans with PTSD, who are transitioning from active duty to civilian life, regarding their participation in the Disabled Transition Assistance Program. The interviews created for this study included particulars of the interviewees lived experiences to the observers in the interviewee’s personal disputes. Narratives provided by the OEF/OIF PTSD veterans can help future researchers in gathering further analyses on this understudied topic.

Findings: The major findings of this study are described coinciding to the research questions. The most dominant themes that were identified were based on each interview question and they were the following: (a) reasons given for separation from military: Mental health/PTSD, (b) experiences with the transitional process through the VA: Generally negative, (c) experiences with the information and process through DTAP: Lacked information about the DTAP Program, (d) description of care provided to others through DTAP: Insufficient or lack of effective care/support, (e) description of information about DTAP provided by TAP: Insufficient; No information provided, (f) types of issues faced during the transition process: Obtaining proper care & mental health challenges, (g) description of how DTAP helped or supported the transition process: Unhelpful; It Failed, (h) suggested improvements to better support transitions needs for those with PTSD: Individualized/customized supports, (i) challenges obstructing the transition process into civilian life: Psychological repercussions.

Conclusions: It is hopeful that this study can be used as a stepping stone in finding better ways to improve the transitional system as well as help eliminate the many issues war veterans are faced with daily outside of the Military. It is our duty to help pay it forward to those who protect us.