Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling & Counseling Psychology

Committee Chair

Jeff Daniels

Committee Co-Chair

James Bartee

Committee Member

Deborah Hendricks

Committee Member

Ian Kellems

Committee Member

Chris Schimmel


There is a lack of research exploring interventions that promote posttraumatic growth with veterans. The current project represents a first attempt to explore posttraumatic growth among veterans who participate in a strength-based program specifically designed for the healthy reintegration and socialization of returning members of the armed services. Through the use of a mixed methods approach, I hoped to show that veterans would report increases in posttraumatic growth following participation in an Outward Bound Veterans Program. Veterans that completed the program were compared to a waitlist control, which consisted of other military personnel that had signed up for, but had yet to participate in an expedition. A total of 95 participants completed self-report measures at two time points. Members of the treatment group (n = 50) were sent a pre-program survey two weeks prior to their trip and a post-program survey two weeks after the trip ended. Individuals in the waitlist control (n = 45) completed the same surveys in a similar time frame as the treatment group. As predicted, those who completed an Outward Bound Veterans Program reported significantly higher levels of posttraumatic growth when compared to the waitlist control. However, further analysis led to a surprising finding when evaluating the five subscales that comprise posttraumatic growth: Relating to Others, Spirituality, Personal Strength, Appreciations of Life, and New Possibilities. The results suggested Relating to Others was the only statistically significant factor when comparing group means. Although Personal Strength was nearing significance, these results emphasize the importance of acceptance and belonging for returning veterans.;Sequentially, qualitative data was gathered from eight Outward Bound Veterans Program participants after the quantitative data was analyzed. These individuals completed a phone interview at various times after their trip. This information allowed for the development of an integrated theory highlighting the various factors and processes that promoted growth as a result of participation in the program. The trip Environment, Cadre, and Program represent the contextual factors that seemingly influenced the group processes: Social Learning, Cohesion, and Overcoming Adversity. Collectively, these factors reportedly impacted the experience of posttraumatic growth.