School of Education


Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling (EdD)


Steven W. Brooks


Adult, Trauma, Post-traumatic Stress, Education, Combat


Counseling | Social and Behavioral Sciences


This dissertation joins an active conversation in the behavioral sciences regarding the challenges of assimilating the adult experienced trauma into the adult education setting. This quantitative study employed a nonexperimental, causal-comparative research design to explore the perceptions of current and former combat-experienced military students about their academic experiences. By exploring the needs in higher education that are concerning and prevalent among those who have experienced active combat, this paper discusses the effects of the combat experience on current and former military members as they seek to acclimate to the academic world. This study was guided by Malcolm Knowles’s idea that andragogy is the art and science of adult learning and his five assumed characteristics of an adult learner: self-concept, the adult learning experience, a readiness to learn, prepared to learn, and motivation to learn. An independent samples t-test was utilized to determine if a difference exists between the two groups: learners who have experienced active combat and learners who have not experienced active combat. The dependent variables were defined as academic motivation, personality, and self-esteem. A one-way MANOVA was used to determine whether there are any statistically significant differences within the study variables of academic motivation, personality, self-esteem, and overall academic experience. This study provides no creditable evidence of the impact of experiencing active combat has on the adult leaner. However, this study provides data and information to continue and develop the conversation of the impact of adult trauma on the adult learner.

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