Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 52 Number 6, 2015
   Pages 701 — 712

Abstract — Student Veteran perceptions of facilitators and barriers to achieving academic goals

Sonya B. Norman, PhD;1–4* Jay Rosen, PhD;1,3 Sara Himmerich, MA;1 Ursula S. Myers, MS;5 Brittany Davis, PhD;1 Kendall C. Browne, PhD;5 Neill Piland, PhD6

1Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, CA; 2National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Veterans Health Administration, White River Junction, VT; 3Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, San Diego, CA; 4Center of Excellence for Stress and Mental Health, VA San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, CA; 5San Diego State University/University of California, San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, San Diego, CA; 6Institute of Rural Health, Idaho State University, Boise, ID

Abstract — According to recent estimates, over 1 million Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom Veterans are utilizing the post-9/11 GI Bill to pursue higher education. Data collected by the Department of Defense suggests that greater than 17% of returning Veterans may experience mental and physical health disorders, which can negatively affect school performance. The current study explored student Veterans' perceived facilitators and barriers to achieving academic goals. Thirty-one student Veterans completed self-report measures and interviews. Results suggested that Veterans who were reporting problems or symptoms in one mental or physical health domain were likely to be reporting symptoms or problems in others as well. The interview data were coded, and three overarching themes related to barriers and facilitators emerged: person features (e.g., discipline and determination, symptoms and stressors), institutional structure (i.e., what schools and the Department of Veterans Affairs do that was perceived to help or hinder student Veteran success), and policy concerns (i.e., how the structure of the GI Bill affects student Veteran school experience). Results from this research indicate the need for larger studies and program development efforts aimed at enhancing academic outcomes for Veterans.

Key words: GI Bill, interviews, mental health, military, OEF, OIF, posttraumatic stress disorder, reintegration, student, Veterans.


View HTML ¦ View PDF ¦ Contents Vol. 52, No.6

This article and any supplementary material should be cited as follows:
Norman SB, Rosen J, Himmerich S, Myers US, Davis B, Browne KC, Piland N. Student Veteran perceptions of facilitators and barriers to achieving academic goals. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2015;52(6):701–12.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1682/JRRD.2015.01.0013
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