From Veteran to Student: Using Structural Equation Modeling to Examine the Impact of School Environment on Education and Psychosocial Outcomes

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Graduate School of Social Work

First Advisor

Jennifer Bellamy


Veterans, Education


Post-9/11 veterans are increasingly entering higher education. As a result of their time in service, they may bring both strengths and challenges to the academic setting. The campus environment has been suggested to be an important factor in the support of Post-9/11 student veterans. Progress has been made in providing veteran-specific supports on campus, but this population also experiences stigmatization from others on campus. Using structural equation modeling (SEM), this dissertation study sought to explore veterans' perceptions of veteran-friendliness and stigmatization on campus and the effects on educational and psychosocial outcomes. Results indicated that while many student veterans are educationally successful, many also struggle with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, and perceive low amounts of veteran-friendliness and considerable amounts of stigmatization. Results of the SEM analysis suggest that their experiences of stigmatization on campus and PTSD negatively affect their quality of life and beliefs about treatment seeking. Veteran-friendliness, by contrast, may buffer negative effects of stigmatization on the quality of life. Implications of this study for policy and social work include the need to use GI Bill funding to support veteran specific services on campus. In addition to support specifically for student veterans, findings from this study highlight the additional need of educating others on campus in order to address cultural concerns.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.

Rights Holder

Ashley A. O'Connor


Received from author

File Format




File Size

125 pgs


Social work, Education

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