Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Public Policy (PhD)

Degree Level



Public Policy


William Schreckhise

Committee Member

Geoboo Song

Second Committee Member

Jack Tsai


homelessness, mental health, military culture, reintegration, stigmatization of help-seeking, veteran


This dissertation, through a public policy lens, examines life after U.S. military service as it relates to reintegration, the ability of state-level veteran-specific mental health programs to address veterans’ mental health challenges, and states’ ability to address veteran homelessness. First, I use 2019 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance Survey data, along with various measures of state-level characteristics, to examine the influence of relevant state-level policies on veterans’ mental health outcomes. Based on multi-level modeling results, findings suggest that the presence of at least one state-level veteran specific mental health program may be a mitigating factor of veterans’ mental health challenges while miscellaneous veteran program spending does not appear to have a significant impact. Second, I examine state-level factors contributing to the reduction of veteran homelessness through the lens of state capacity theory and use the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Point-in-Time of homeless persons estimates and geographic information system (GIS) mapping. Findings suggest that, along with costs of living indicators and veteran unemployment rates impacting veteran housing stability, a state’s capacity to manage resources, notably their ability to connect homeless veterans and available resources via robust relationships with community stakeholders, is key to enhancing homeless veteran outcomes. Lastly, I examine factors contributing to veteran reintegration, through a socio-ecological lens of veteran reintegration, using 2011 Pew Research Center’s Veteran Survey data. Findings based on time-series negative binomial regression models suggest that veterans reporting better reintegration experiences are less likely to have served in combat and experienced military-related trauma, are currently in better health, felt supported by military leadership in help-seeking, and report lower levels of family strain.