Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Social Work

Document Type



Scholars have determined that race-based experiences have the potential to elicit race-based injuries that mirror posttraumatic stress reactions; but little is known about the impact of racial trauma on service members of color and how it can influence their capacity to remain engaged, committed, and ready for deployment. The purpose of this mixed method study was to use a complex participatory social-justice design by way of a sequential explanatory and convergent parallel design to develop and expand current literature by setting two goals. The first goal was to use quantitative methods to examine self-reports of racial trauma and trauma related outcomes among African American military service members and other members of color. The second goal was to use quantitative and qualitative methods to examine how the trauma experienced by African American military service members effects their commitment to the military as well as their readiness for deployment. Triangulation of data included collecting both quantitative data, which uses an Engagement and Commitment Scale derived from the DEOCS survey (Office of People Analytics, 2021), a Deployment Readiness Scale (Vinokur, et al., 2013), and an adaptation of UCONN’s UnRESTS measure (Williams et al., 2019); and qualitative data, which used an exploratory interview questionnaire to conduct open discussion forum focus groups and individual interview discussions. Due to a fieldwork disruption during the quantitative phase, a combination of three methods to pivot, turn home, and follow were used to complete this study (Schoon, 2022). Findings suggest that service members’ mental health exhibited symptoms of racial trauma. However, individual, community, and environmental parameters influence the level of impact discriminatory experiences have on the individual’s overall deployment readiness, engagement, and commitment. Suggested strategies for improvements are discussed along with practice and policy implications.



Committee Chair

Chaney, Cassandra D.



Available for download on Thursday, November 01, 2029