Graduate School of Business


Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)


Steven Cates


Combat Veterans, Hardships, Difficulties, Barriers, PTSD, TBI, Suicide




The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological research study was to explore and understand the difficulties and challenges that thousands of combat veterans have encountered in their reintegration into society and the civilian workforce. The research study was guided by the four research questions: What were the lived experiences of combat veterans as they transitioned from military service to civilian employment? What were the challenges and difficulties that combat veterans experienced when seeking civilian employment? What are the successes that combat veterans have experienced in transitioning to the civilian workforce? What perceptions do human resource managers have about combat veterans and their transferable skills? In seeking answers to the research questions, an exhaustive literature review was conducted, as well as in-depth interviews with fifteen combat veterans. The data that was collected, was analyzed, and numerous themes emerged. The themes were depression with a sub-theme of self-medication, loss of identity, PTSD, and suicidal ideation. Additional themes were education, waste of time, ignorance, and discrimination. The themes consistent with the conceptual and the literature review. Findings were presented, as well as applications to professional practice, and Biblical implications. Recommendations for action, and further study were made. The researcher reflected on the entire journey. The findings accurately reported the lived experiences of the fifteen research participants.

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