OTHER SOCIAL ISSUES

Barriers and Resources for Veterans’ Post-Military Transitioning in South Alabama: A Qualitative Analysis

Article

This article discusses a study to provide an overview of the barriers and resources for veterans in Alabama, in the United States. The study aimed to identify unmet needs and gaps in available services for military veterans and families.

Abstract

Estimates suggest that hundreds of thousands of military service members will transition out of the U.S. military in the coming years. The state of Alabama has among the highest concentrations of veterans per capita in the United States. The purpose of this study was to provide an initial picture of the prominent barriers and resources for veterans in Alabama. Data for this study were collected as part of a larger needs assessment aimed at identifying unmet needs and perceived gaps in available services of military veterans and families living in an 8-county region in the southern portion of Alabama. Researchers conducted 2 sets of in-depth qualitative interviews to elicit veteran and family perspectives about unmet needs, available resources, and gaps in using resources for veterans’ post-military transitioning in this region and to collect improvement suggestions. An inductive content analytic approach was implemented to identify the prominent themes and ideas across the focus groups and expert informant interviews. Four broad categories were identified, including barriers for transitioning (e.g., financial difficulties and limited job opportunities), resources for transitioning (e.g., postsecondary degree attainment before discharge), gaps in resources (e.g., transportation health-care appointments) and available resources (e.g., veterans service organizations). Many veterans in Alabama reported a lack of preparedness for their military-to-civilian transition, especially female and minority veterans. County-level supports are needed, including targeted, regional public service announcements that normalize behavioral, mental, and physical health needs. Such announcements should include resource referrals, indicating where veterans can go for additional information on services.

Full Reference

Albright, D. L., McCormick, W. H., Carroll, T. D., Currier, J. M., Thomas, K. H., Hamner, K., . . . Deiss, J., 2018. Barriers and resources for veterans’ post-military transitioning in south Alabama: A qualitative analysis. Traumatology, 24(3), 236-245.