Aim: Although most veterans have a successful transition to civilian life when they leave the military, some struggle to cope and adjust to the demands and challenges of civilian life. This study explores how a variety of psychosocial factors influence veteran adjustment to civilian life in Scotland, UK, and which of these factors predict a poor adjustment. Methods: One hundred and fifty-four veterans across Scotland completed a set of questionnaires that measured veteran adjustment difficulty, quality of life, mental health, stigma, self-stigma, attitude towards help-seeking, likelihood of help-seeking, experiential avoidance, reappraisal and suppression. Results: Veteran adjustment difficulty and quality of life were significantly correlated to a number of psychosocial factors. Mental health, experiential avoidance and cognitive reappraisal were found to be predictors of veteran adjustment difficulty, and experiential avoidance and cognitive reappraisal partially mediated the relationship between mental health and veteran adjustment, with experiential avoidance being the stronger mediator. Discussion: Our findings suggest that early assessment of experiential avoidance and cognitive reappraisal and the provision of relevant emotion regulation skills training could potentially reduce the veteran's need for more complex (and costly) psychological interventions in the future. Implications for veterans, as well as the services and professionals involved with veteran transition and health care are discussed.
- civilian life
- cognitive reappraisal
- experiential avoidance
- mental health
- veteran adjustment difficulty