Date of Conferral







Yoly Zentella


The U.S. military has downsized since the early 2000s and has plans to continue to decrease their forces. There are negative implications many veterans experience after discharge. Using the transition theory as the framework for this study, the purpose of this between-groups study was to explore the differences in life satisfaction scores between voluntarily- and involuntarily-discharged U.S. service members and the associations between educational attainment, social support, and length of service. The participants were honorable discharged U.S. service members. A total of 182 participants were included in this study; 141 were voluntarily discharged and 41 were involuntarily discharged. The participants were recruited through Walden's participant pool, flyers, and Facebook. The Satisfaction with Life Scale, the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support, and a demographic questionnaire were used to identify participants' life satisfaction scores, amount of perceived social support, and personal information. Based on the results of t tests and hierarchical linear regressions, there were no differences in life satisfaction scores between voluntarily and involuntarily discharged service members. Social support and educational attainment were statistically significant predictors of life satisfaction for discharged service members. The positive social change implications of this study include increasing mental health workers' awareness of U.S. service members and the factors that affect life satisfaction after discharge.