Date of Graduation
Doctor of Philosophy in Public Policy (PhD)
Second Committee Member
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.
Button, E. D. (2023). A Public Policy Approach to Life After Service for U.S. Military Veterans: Mental Health, Homelessness, and Reintegration. Graduate Theses and Dissertations Retrieved from https://scholarworks.uark.edu/etd/5060