Date of Conferral

2022

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Public Policy and Administration

Advisor

Bruce Lindsay

Abstract

As many as 61% of veterans have sought reintegration services after the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) to help them cope with culture shock. TAP is not designed to address cultural transition. However, culture shock has resulted in disassociating behavior, unemployment, and homelessness in the veteran community. The purpose of this study was to identify the unmet reacculturation needs of post-active duty veterans in Chester County, Pennsylvania, who have utilized the United States’ Department of Defense’s TAP. Using an ethnographic approach, this study identified the extent that the TAP helps 13 post-active duty veterans obtain the autonomy stage of culture shock theory to the extent of career transition preparation only. In areas of reacculturation, veterans reported feeling on their own to manage mounds of paperwork during a perceived pointless “check the box” out process course set to calibrate an individual to civilian life through “toxic positivity.” This study found that veterans do not perceive separation from the military as solely a career change but as a cultural and lifestyle change. TAP does not address the needs of cultural and/or lifestyle changes, which impedes veterans' reacculturation through autonomy obtainment. It is recommended that TAP expand the application of 10 U.S.C. §1142(b)(10) to include cultural transition as a part of the transition plan. Addressing veterans' culture shock will help reduce the 20 veteran suicides per day due to readjustment issues leading to positive social change.

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