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Veterans' Policies, Veterans' PoliticsNew Perspectives on Veterans in the Modern United States$
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Stephen R. Ortiz

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780813042077

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813042077.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 26 May 2022

Exploring the Effects of Combat Exposure on American Civic Life

Exploring the Effects of Combat Exposure on American Civic Life

(p.281) 12 Exploring the Effects of Combat Exposure on American Civic Life
Veterans' Policies, Veterans' Politics

Christopher S. Parker

University Press of Florida

Military service is believed to contribute to civic life on veterans’ return to civil society: it is believed to produce productive, allegiant citizens. What if exposure to combat also damages the practice of democracy in America? This chapter explores a psychological mechanism by which exposure to combat has the opposite effect on civic attitudes. Drawing on combat-related stress and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as examples of combat-related trauma, the chapter shows that participation in combat is not always associated with allegiant citizens, a requirement for political stability. In fact, the chapter suggests, allegiance varies with combat exposure and the veteran's postwar condition. A veteran emerging from combat without psychological scars is likely to remain allegiant. However, this chapter indicates, veterans falling victim to combat stress will likely become alienated.

Keywords:   civics, posttraumatic stress disorder, veterans, military service, democracy, combat stress

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