Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Hiring: Am I Traumatized and Stigmatized?

July, 2021

This paper explores the stigmatisation of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder in relation to employment and perceived work performance.


An increasing number of veterans in the United States and worldwide suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Unfortunately, there is comparatively little research about how this disability influences hiring processes. We suggest that veterans with PTSD (compared to those who don’t have PTSD) might be stigmatized during the hiring process such that their hiring ratings might suffer. At the same time, social media platforms have been increasingly used as popular sources of data collection among recruiters when making hiring decisions (i.e., social media [SM] assessment). Unfortunately, SM assessment may make PTSD more discoverable by making possible the introduction of extraneous information into the hiring process. We conducted a study of working professionals in which we manipulated the PTSD status of a veteran job applicant on two social media platforms (Facebook or LinkedIn). Results suggest that there is significant stigmatization of veterans with PTSD versus those without PTSD. Stigmatization was positively related to suspicion, which was negatively related to both expected task performance and expected organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) and positively related to expected counterproductive work behaviors. Thus, we document the negative effects of PTSD on veterans in the hiring process. Our results shed light on how SM posts can lead to stigmatization, suspicion, and lower hiring evaluations of veteran applicants suffering from PTSD. The manuscript also imports the construct of suspicion into the selection/staffing literature and shows how it affects veterans in the hiring process.

Full Reference

Wenxi Pu, Philip L. Roth, Jason Thatcher, Christine Nittrouer, and Michelle Hebl, 2021: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Hiring: Am I Traumatized and Stigmatized?. Proceedings, 2021,

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