Rhianna Kelsey Flohr is a 2018 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee

Theodore Ellenhorn, PhD, ABPP, Committee Chair
Amanda Hitchings, PsyD, Committee Member
Laurie Guidry, PsyD, Committee Member

Document Type


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Service members who serve active duty for 20 years qualify for military retirement with retired pay. This study examined whether sociodemographic and clinical factors are associated with higher levels of transitional difficulty in spouses of retired military service members following at least 20 years of active duty service. Veteran research has shown that a variety of sociodemographic and clinical factors influence the ease with which the service member transitions back into a civilian lifestyle. Factors contributing to greater transitional difficulties for veterans include: (a) experience of a traumatic event, (b) probable post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), (c) race and ethnicity, (d) unemployment, (e) time spent in the military, (f) number of deployments. Previous research also suggests that military retirement is a challenging prospect for the service member and service member spouse, as he or she is often inducted into the military lifestyle as much as the service member. Despite these findings, no contemporary research exists regarding transitional difficulties for service member spouses during the transition back into the civilian culture following service members’ 20-plus-year military careers. This study aimed to explore whether race, employment, spousal symptoms of PTSD, number of career deployments and relocations, years of military service, and service member rank contribute to higher levels of transitional difficulty for the service member spouse during retirement. Further, it looked to discover which factors contribute most to perceived transitional difficulty. Participants were recruited by snowball sampling through the Facebook social media platform to complete the Military to Civilian Questionnaire (M2C-Q), which determines an overall transitional difficulty score. It was also hypothesized that the sociodemographic and clinical factors that demonstrate the greatest contribution to veteran transitional difficulties upon leaving the military (e.g., race/ethnicity, unemployment, and PTSD diagnosis), will also contribute to higher levels of transitional difficulties for veteran spouses during the retirement transition from a military to civilian lifestyle. It also hypothesized that a greater number of deployments, relocations, and years of military service will contribute to greater transitional difficulty for spouses of retiring service members.