Social identity and the mental health and wellbeing of male veterans

Health Psychol Rep. 2022 Nov 4;11(3):262-268. doi: 10.5114/hpr/154989. eCollection 2023.

Abstract

Background: Previous work has linked disruptions in one's social identity to increased levels of depression and suicide among veterans. This study examines the relationship between veteran social identity (as measured by the public and private regard subscales of the Warrior Identity Scale) and mental health and wellbeing among male veterans.

Participants and procedure: Male veterans (N = 67) completed the Warrior Identity Scale as well as various measures of mental health and wellbeing.

Results: The hypotheses were supported in that more positive views of one's social identity (i.e., more private regard) predicted significantly fewer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, less depression, suicidal ideation, anxiety, stress, and more perceived social support. More public regard, on the other hand, was related to more PTSD symptoms.

Conclusions: This research adds to the growing work on the importance of social identity (as measured by public and private regard) in predicting mental health symptomatology among male veterans, which may act as important risk factors in clinical settings.

Keywords: anxiety; depression; psychological wellbeing; veterans; warrior identity.