Naji Obaid PhD Defense: 'Understanding the Challenges of Language Use in Veterans' Transition to Civilian Life in Higher Education'

Committee: Aya Matsuda (Chair), Bryan Smith, and Mark James.  ::  ABSTRACT: Transitioning into civilian life after military service is a challenging prospect. It can be difficult to find employment and maintain good mental health, and up to 70 percent of veterans experience homelessness or alcoholism. Upon discharge, many veterans pursue higher education as a way to reintegrate into civilian society. However, many studies have shown that veterans encounter multiple challenges during their attempt to reintegrate into civilian life, including anxiety, a lack of relevant skills, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other issues that may lead to communication and interaction challenges in the higher education environment. Student veterans also face challenges in the lack of common language and culture clashes due to differences between military and college culture. This study used a mixed-methods approach to examine the challenges military veterans face related to language use in civilian life and how they deal with these challenges, including their use of on-campus resources and relating their multiple identities to each other as students, vets, parents, etc., and socialization with both veteran and non-veteran students. The study sample entailed conducting a close-ended and open-ended survey on 149 student veterans to gain insight into their life of transition into civil life through higher-level education at ASU. Age, gender, a branch of service, service in the military, and prior college experience before serving in the military were the main demographic characteristics presented in this section. A detailed analysis of data collected through a quantitative and qualitative approach was used to provide an answer to three main research questions. The study showed that veteran students experienced communication and language challenges, especially when they initially enrolled in their courses. The veterans who had prior college education before joining the military had a slight advantage, having had experience using appropriate academic language. But the challenges were improved after spending time in the university setting, especially for those who searched and used on-campus veteran resources to obtain mental health counseling and guidelines to assist them in blending into the school community.

This is a virtual presentation:

Sheila Luna
Friday, Apr. 15, 2022, 1:30 p.m. [NEW TIME]

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