Date of Award

August 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Nadya A Fouad

Committee Members

Kelsey L Autin, Nina M Sathasivam-Rueckert, Leah M Rouse


Mental Health, Psychology of Working, Stigma, Veteran


Veterans comprise roughly 8.3% of the U.S. adult population and 6.4% of the civilian labor force. Veterans tend to experience rates of both unemployment and underemployment at rates similar to their civilian peers. The duration of enlistment for military members has increased over the last four decades. Although longer enlistments may indicate better retention efforts and the ability to sustain individual careers in the military, this also increases potential rates for combat exposure and psychological distress. Additionally, military members tend to assume strong military identities through their time in the service.

Veterans often struggle with reintegrating into civilian life after time spent in the military. Aligning differences between enrooted military cultural values and civilian life and struggles with mental health make this transition even more difficult. Complicating this relationship are stigmatized beliefs often held by members of the military regarding mental health treatment, possibly preventing access to care.

The Psychology of Working Theory (PWT) seeks to explain how various factors (e.g., marginalization and economic constraints) influence experiences of decent work. A regression analysis was conducted to understand how mental health stigma influences the PWT model in its explanation of experiences of decent work for veterans with psychological distress.