Date of Award

Winter 2-24-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Patricia Clark-White, EdD

Second Advisor

Cindy Petersen, EdD

Third Advisor

Webster Nicholson, EdD


Purpose. The purpose of this multiple case study was to explore the experiences of post-9/11 veterans suffering from PTSD residing in California who transitioned from military service to civilian careers within the last 3-5 years, through the lens of Schlossberg’s 4S factors of situation, self, social support, and strategies.

Methodology. A qualitative case study was used allowing for in-depth exploration. A multiple case study was selected to explore the lived experiences of PTSD veterans who recently transitioned from military service to civilian careers in San Diego, CA. The primary method of data collection was semi-structured interviews to gather the stories and perceptions of three veterans suffering from PTSD.

Findings. Analysis of the results led to seven major findings organized by the Schlossberg’s 4S model. The factor of situation revealed the veterans mental health disorders and prioritizing their personal needs were motivational factors in transitioning. For the factor of self, veterans shared the availability of disability benefits and their desire to adjust to civilian life contributed to their decision to separate from the military. For the factor of social support, veterans indicated ongoing support from family and friends was critical to successfully transitioning to civilian careers. The factor of strategies had the most findings, which included veterans relying on their self-determination and motivation, using other veterans or VA supports, and managing stress through therapy, all of which aided in their successful transition to civilian careers.

Conclusions. Seven conclusions were established based on the findings. These conclusions impact programs and policies for the Department of Labor, Department of Defense, and Department of Veterans Affairs regarding their military personnel programs prior to and after separation.

Recommendations. Recommendations for future research include conducting studies on the support of family and friends of veterans who successfully transitioned and examination of obstacles impeding successful transition as perceived by veterans.