Date of Award

Fall 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Saara Greene


Sheila Sammon





With the recent combat in Afghanistan, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (P.T.S.D.) is once again in the public eye. With this it has sparked researchers interested in P.T.S.D. and the experiences of soldiers post combat. However, much of this literature has framed P.T.S.D. as abnormal psychology versus a normal reaction to extreme violence. Further, the literature has concentrated on P.T.S.D. and not explored Operational Stress Injuries. As well, it has been stated that there has been an influx of soldiers and combat veterans seeking social services. This is an exploratory study that examines the narratives of five veterans for their perspectives of operational injury support services. The research is based on an anti-oppressive interpretative social science framework and narrative based qualitative interviews with five veterans residing in Southern Ontario. The findings revealed stories of the veteran’s identity, the emotional impact of war, barriers to seeking treatment and facilitators to accessing services.

Each of these veterans spoke about their employment and culture and how this had an effect on seeking services. Many aspects of the veterans’ stories were comprised of stigma and the impact it had on seeking treatment. Condensed with stigma, the structural barriers exacerbate the soldier’s ability to seek culturally appropriate services in a timely fashion. Furthermore, these structural barriers do not solely impact the veterans in one area of their lives but have a ripple effect on all areas. Lastly, these veterans provided explicit service provisions that they believe would assist them and other veterans in the future. Not only do these men believe that individual support is important to them, but supporting their families also seems to be an important aspect of treatment. Even with individual treatment each veteran talked about the importance of peer support, whether it was too informal or formal, and the role of peer support seems vital in a holistic culturally appropriate treatment.

McMaster University Library

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Social Work Commons