August 2, 2012

Many Veterans of Post-9/11 Wars Face Difficulties Returning Home

44%

More than four-in-ten (44%) veterans of the post-9/11 wars say that re-entering civilian life was very or somewhat difficult, a higher number than among those who served in earlier conflicts.

For many veterans of all eras, readjusting to civilian life after military service has not been particularly difficult. More than seven-in-ten say their readjustment was very (43%) or somewhat (29%) easy. Still, more than one-in-four (27%) report that they had at least some difficulty readjusting.

The re-entry process has been more difficult for post-9/11 veterans than it was for those who served prior to 9/11. More than four-in-ten post-9/11 veterans (44%) say they had difficulty readjusting to civilian life, compared with 25% of pre-9/11 veterans.

This may be due in part to the fact that post-9/11 veterans are much more likely than those who served before them to have seen combat. Among post-9/11 veterans who served in combat, half (51%) say they had difficulty readjusting to civilian life. This compares with 34% of post-9/11 veterans who did not see combat.

The re-adjustment has been particularly difficult for post-9/11 veterans who saw combat. Nearly six-in-ten post-9/11 combat veterans (57%) say that since being discharged from the military, they have experienced frequent incidents of irritability or outbursts of anger. By contrast, only 31% of noncombat veterans say the same. Nearly as many combat veterans (55%) say they have experienced strains in family relations. This compares with 38% of noncombat veterans. Read More