Date of Conferral
Public Policy and Administration
Stigmatization has shown to negatively impact service members with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Published research has shown stigma to significantly affect service members through increased suicide, homicide, unemployment, homelessness, and criminal justice system interaction rates. Additionally, stigma also affects overall readiness and cohesion of the military organization. However, little research has focused on the perceptions of Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) cadets about service members with a combat-related stress disorder in which they will eventually be charged with leading. The purpose of this quantitative study was to measure a cohort of ROTC cadets and determine their perceptions about service members serving with PTSD. Socialization theory was used as the lens to measure ROTC cadet's acceptance into the military culture. The study population consisted of 14 cadets within 5 ROTC battalions in Louisiana. Fisher's exact test revealed no significant relationships among ROTC cadet's overall perceptions. However, valuable insight was discovered regarding religion and branch of service the cadets intended to commission with as potential significant variables regarding their perceptions about PTSD. Further research, including a larger population size, is still needed to determine how these perceptions impact currently serving service members. Implications for positive social change include improved knowledge about PTSD and the stigma associated with negative perceptions, which will improve education through socialization into the military culture and reduce suicide, homicide, criminal justice system interaction, homelessness, and unemployment rates in addition to improving the overall readiness and cohesion of the Armed Forces.