School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling (EdD)


Al Sarno


learned helplessness, military culture, veterans, homelessness, control




This hermeneutic phenomenological qualitative research study examined psychological resiliency factors. The theories that guided this research study were Peterson et al. (1993) Learned Helplessness (LH) Theory, military, cultural conditioning, and Seligman’s (2018) PERMA psychological resiliency model, which is rooted in Positive Psychology. The purpose of this qualitative research study was to describe the lived experiences of veterans who had experienced homelessness for at least 90 consecutive days and who were currently living in a therapeutic housing shelter in the northeastern United States. I investigated veterans’ military-to-civilian transitional experiences, social support transitions, cultural norm differences, and routine engagement experiences. The data collection methodology included purposeful sampling and two individual interviews, a member-checking focus interview, and a demographic questionnaire. I collected audio information from the individual and focus interview respondents and then coded it utilizing Miles and Huberman (2020) to break the information into chunks and to identify unifying themes. The significant results of the study indicated substance misuse as a dissociative factor, the importance of vocational opportunities, and the security associated with systems that institutionalized systems. Additionally, the study suggested a synergistic correlative factor of the PERMA + HC model and limitations of questionnaires compared against open-ended questioning. Due to difficulty controlling extraneous recruitment variables, this study was considered exploratory in nature.

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