Beyond war and PTSD : The crucial role of transition stress in the lives of military veterans


An article which examines the role of transition stress and the impact on mental health problems.


Although only a relatively small minority of military veterans develop Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), mental health theory and research with military veterans has focused primarily on PTSD and its treatment. By contrast, many and by some accounts most veterans experience high levels of stress during the transition to civilian life, however transition stress has received scant attention. In this paper we attempt to address this deficit by reviewing the wider range of challenges, rewards, successes, and failures that transitioning veterans might experience, as well as the factors that might moderate these experiences. To illuminate this argument, we briefly consider what it means to become a soldier (i.e., what is required to transition into military service) and more crucially what kind of stressors veterans might experience when they attempt to shed that identity (i.e., what is required to transition out of military service). We end by suggesting how an expanded research program on veteran transition stress might move forward. Highlights Current interventions/supports for veterans have focused primarily on PTSD. PTSD in veterans is infrequent while transition stress is highly prevalent. Transition stress is multifaceted and can lead to serious mental health problems. We review and elaborate on components of transition stress.

Full Reference

Mobbs, Meaghan C. ; Bonanno, George A. (2018). Beyond war and PTSD : The crucial role of transition stress in the lives of military veterans. Clinical psychology review. Vol: 59, p.137-44.