School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling (EdD)


Cynthia Doney


veterans, military, PTSD, counseling, peer support, physical fitness, sports, combat, weightlifting, stigma, suicide, combative sports, risk factors, deployment, fighting, martial arts, OEF, OIF




This phenomenological research was intended to explore the effectiveness of sports and exercise to decrease or manage D-PTSD symptoms in veterans. The study was framed around four research questions: How do veterans describe the impact sports and exercise have on their D- PTSD?, When there are PTSD symptoms being experienced prior to engaging in a sport or exercise, how does the veteran feel after the sport or exercise is completed?, What do veterans describe as the primary catalyst that draws them to engage in combative sports?, What is the holistic connectedness with sports and exercise for veterans with D- PTSD and how are those defined? Participants were twice observed in person in their activity routine and interviewed before and after each activity. Cognitive images of their PTSD and responses to questions about the image were requested. Three themes emerged from examination of veterans’ personal narratives regarding the use of sports and exercise (including combative sports) in managing D-PTSD symptoms: effects of activity, military resemblance, and confronting triggers. The study contributes to the existing literature by introducing a new way to examine how combative sports may provide an effective alternative treatment for D-PTSD.

Included in

Counseling Commons