Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Gina P. Owens

Committee Members

Brent Mallinckrodt, Jacob Levy, Joel Diambra


One hundred forty seven veterans of Operations Iraqi Freedom (Iraq) and/or Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) completed an internet survey with questions related to unit cohesion, romantic attachment style, personality factors, and mental health symptoms. Participants completed five self-report measures: the PTSD Checklist-Military, the Hopkins Symptom Checklist-21, Deployment Social Support scale from the Deployment Risk and Resiliency Inventory, the Experiences in Close Relationships Scale-Short Form, and the International Personality Item Pool Big Five Short Form Questionnaire. Most participants were male and Caucasian. Hierarchical linear regression analysis results indicated that emotional stability predicted both general distress and PTSD symptom severity, while avoidant attachment was a predictor of PTSD severity and extraversion was a predictor of general distress severity. An interaction between conscientiousness and anxious attachment was present in both models, with secure attachment moderating the relationships between conscientiousness and dependent variables (PTSD and general psychological distress). Results of this study indicate that emotional stability, extraversion, conscientiousness, and secure attachment styles (low anxious and avoidant attachment) are important in the post-combat mental health symptom constellation and promotion of these traits by military leaders could benefit service members.

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