Date of Submission

Spring 5-3-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in International Conflict Management (Ph.D. INCM)

Committee Chair/First Advisor

Volker C. Franke, PhD


Timothy Hedeen, PhD

Committee Member

Thomas W. Britt, PhD


In this dissertation, the author explores the relationship between the social identity and emotional well-being of military service members and veterans when transitioning to civilian roles following deployment(s) and/or the end of military service. This mixed-methods study uses participant observations, survey measures, and semi-structured interviews to answer the following questions: How does social identity impact the emotional well-being of military service members when transitioning to civilian roles following deployment(s) and/or end of military service? How does participation in formalized or ad hoc community reintegration “rituals” influence the service member’s felt sense of return? By combining Social Identity Theory with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs, the author hypothesizes that individuals who have participated in communal ceremonies, rituals, or events for reintegration purposes will demonstrate a more secure transition between military and civilian identities; and that individuals who have more integrated, less competing civilian and military identities will demonstrate higher instances of psychosocial well-being. Implications are subsequently drawn from these findings to better inform policy and practice of government and non-governmental organizations that work with the return and reintegration of military service members, as well as public health organizations focused on community well-being in the wake of conflict.