The Relationship Between Unit Support and Post-deployment Social Support in Military Veterans

Sherree Clark-Metcalf, Brett Slagel, and Dr. Stephanie Jett, Department of Psychology, Georgia College and State University, 231 W Hancock St, Milledgeville GA 31061

The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between perceptions of unit support during deployment and social support post-deployment in veterans of the United States Armed Forces. Military veterans are one of the highest need populations for mental health treatment, but one of the lowest treatment seeking populations. Studying the factors that act as barriers as well as those that facilitate treatment seeking behavior is of utmost importance to making an impact on the rates of post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide in those who served. In the current study, unit support refers to veterans’ perceived relationships with other military personnel during their time of service and social support refers to veterans’ perceived relationships with their family, friends, and communities once they leave the service. Veterans were surveyed using two measures from the Deployment Risk and Resilience Inventory-2: Unit Support Scale (US) and Post-Deployment Social Support Scale (PDSS). Surveys were distributed via snowball sampling through social media platforms. It was hypothesized that veterans who reported high levels of US while deployed would also show a high degree of perceived PDSS. Both support elements have been shown to act as protective factors in reintegration into civilian life, increasing the probability of the individuals seeking care for any mental health related needs. By seeing if there is a positive correlation between US and PDSS, we can advocate for a change in the amount of support they are receiving from their unit members and social communities. A regression analysis showed a significant relationship between the variables, r(56) = 0.429, p < 0.001. As US increased by 1 unit, PDSS increased by 0.429 units. Helping to clarify the relationship between these two potential protective factors could aid in a better understanding of barriers and obstacles to treatment seeking in military veterans. 

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Sherree Clark-Metcalf

Institution: Georgia College and State University

Type: Poster

Subject: Psychology

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 10
Date/Time: Wed 1:30pm-2:30pm
Session Number: 6670