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Abstract

Over 900,000 veterans are using benefits for higher education today; the vast majority of them served in the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). Over 25% of GWOT service members that have been treated by the Veterans Affairs (VA) are reported to have symptoms of posttraumatic stress or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTS/PTSD). PTS/PTSD negatively impacts student veterans’ abilities to navigate stressful environments such as college and university settings. The Veterans Embracing Transition (VET) Connect Program at San José State University (SJSU) is designed to connect veterans with non-veterans as peer educators. Five of the 13 VET Connect peer educators (38.5%) who were interviewed reported having symptoms of PTSD. Through their service as peer educators on and off campus, these participants demonstrated signs of healthy coping effects through sharing experiences and educating non-veterans of the struggles related to military culture, service, combat, and loss. This study was conducted in collaboration with Sophia Alcala. We worked on independent research questions and observations using data derived from the same larger study simultaneously under the supervision of Dr. Klaw.

 

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