Abstract

The negative effects of traumatic combat experiences on combatants' psychological functioning is well documented in the literature. The Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) has resulted in many veterans returning from deployments with mental health conditions related to trauma exposure, such as posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, general anxiety, and suicidality. Past researchers found significant ethnic differences in psychological functioning, with Latino-American veterans reporting more symptoms of PTSD. Furthermore, Latino-American cultural values place importance on collective orientation and secrecy of mental health concerns which may affect treatment. Thus, this study built on limited research about Latino-American male combat veterans by focusing on the effects of social support and working therapeutic alliance during mental health treatment. Using a cross-sectional design, a sample of 42 GWOT Latino-American Veterans undergoing mental health treatment at a VA Medical Center in the Southeastern U.S. was recruited and surveyed. Participants completed a set of nine questionnaires (Beck Scale for Suicidal Ideation, PTSD Checklist – Military Version, Beck Depression Inventory – 2nd Edition, Beck Anxiety Inventory, Postdeployment Social Support Scale, Combat Exposure Scale, Working Alliance Inventory – Short Form. Network Orientation Scale, and Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support). Descriptive and bivariate statistics were calculated, and regression models were tested. The results indicate that social support improved overall PTSD and intrusive symptoms, separately, but working therapeutic alliance had a marginal effect on avoidance symptoms. Working alliance was found to exert a negative effect on depressive symptoms. The study did not yield evidence to support significant effects of social support or working alliance on suicidality and generalized anxiety. These results have implications for mental health service systems and for future research. Therapists serving veterans with PTSD should work with the patient/client to increase perceived social support. When serving veterans with depressive symptoms, therapists should place special effort on developing a strong working alliance.

Graduation Date

2017

Semester

Fall

Advisor

Leon, Ana

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

College

College of Health and Public Affairs

Degree Program

Public Affairs; Social Work

Format

application/pdf

Identifier

CFE0006872

URL

http://purl.fcla.edu/fcla/etd/CFE0006872

Language

English

Release Date

December 2017

Length of Campus-only Access

None

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

Share

COinS