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This study examines whether elevated rates of externalizing behaviors following deployment could be explained by combat exposure and internalizing symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), as well as the health of the social environment. Externalized behavior is defined as the propensity to express distress outward and internalization is the propensity to express distress inward (Miller, Greif, & Smith, 2003). This study will specifically look at external behaviors such as angry outbursts, drug/alcohol use, work/school problems, and risky behavior as well as internal PTSD symptoms, guilt and moral injury. Unit leadership, organizational support, and stigma/barriers to care will be studied in order to gauge the health of the social environment for veterans following their deployment. In addition, the social environment of combat veterans in-country experience of Combat Operation Stress Reaction (COSR) diagnosis to their perceived treatment by their unit leadership has shown to have an effect on externalizing behavior post-deployment. Furthermore, because of a military culture of self-reliance, strength, and the perceived stigma of seeking mental health services, a second and substantial population of service members-in-need is choosing whether or not to consult health professionals at all. According to the Center for PTSD of Veteran Affairs the number of veteran suicides superseded the number of combat deaths in July and June of 2012. This study will add to the limited but growing body of research needed for an up-to-date and relevant understanding of veteran’s experiences after serving multiple deployments.


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  • Event location
    • Room 269 Open Classroom

  • Event date
    • 3 April 2013

  • Date submitted

    18 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Dr. Michele Hill