There are many studies on the effects of social support upon veterans with PTSD. There are other studies that have examined the impact of institutions such as the VA upon veterans with PTSD. And there have also been studies conducted to determine the individual social impact of PTSD upon veterans' lives. But there have been few major academic studies which combine all of these disparate elements to show the reality of what veterans with PTSD have working for them and against them in American society. My purpose of my study is to examine and evaluate the interactions that veterans with PTSD have with support networks and the VA. This project intends to combine those elements through a combination of reviewing academic literature, content analysis of news articles and critical analysis of the resulting data. The results indicate that veterans with PTSD are at risk of having their social support networks collapse for several reasons. The varying nature of PTSD is a result of myriad experiences that can cause it, especially in warfare and other traumatic situations that are unique to veterans. This varying nature also makes those veterans who suffer from PTSD more vulnerable than their civilian by making them less able to interact with social support networks, yet simultaneously more dependent upon those networks. In addition to these problems, the lack of consistency in availability of VA resources systemically privileges certain groups (such as urban veterans over their rural counterparts) over others. This reallocation of resources not only denies some veterans access to treatment, it makes the overall system less effective, which in turn has a greater negative effect upon veterans that interact with it because of the nature of PTSD. Several policy recommendations are suggested to make the system as a whole work more efficiently. The first recommendation is a centralization and systematization of VA policies and treatment. This not only would make the entire organization's treatment more uniform, it would also enable greater access to all veterans. The second recommendation concerns the integration of VA services with social support networks for veterans with PTSD. Since social support is a major factor in the development and maintenance of PTSD, integrating it with VA care would allow for a strengthening of both main sources of support for veterans with PTSD.


Frese, Pamela


Sociology and Anthropology


Medicine and Health | Social Psychology and Interaction


ptsd, post-traumatic stress disorder

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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