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Facing the fear: Resilience and social support in veterans and civilians with PTSD

APA Citation:

Wall, C. L. & Lowe, M. (2020). Facing the fear: Resilience and social support in veterans and civilians with PTSD. Journal of Aggression, Conflict, and Peace Research, 12(2), 75-85. https://doi.org/10.1108/JACPR-11-2019-0455

Abstract Created by REACH:

This study examined how resilience (i.e., the ability to come back from adversity, considered an individual-level resource) and social support (a relational resource) were associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms among military personnel (n = 56) and civilians (n = 65) from the United Kingdom. Both military personnel and civilians completed measures on resilience and PTSD; however, each group completed a different measure of social support. Military personnel reported on military social support (i.e., support from unit leaders and fellow Service members) and postdeployment social support (i.e., support from family and friends following most recent deployment), whereas civilian social support was measured as support received from family, friends, and significant others. For military personnel and civilians, resilience and social support promoted better mental health (i.e., fewer PTSD symptoms).


Mental health

Branch of Service:

Multiple branches

Military Affiliation:

Active Duty

Subject Affiliation:

Active duty service member
Military families


Adulthood (18 yrs & older)
Young adulthood (18 - 29 yrs)
Thirties (30 - 39 yrs)
Middle age (40 - 64 yrs)
Aged (65 yrs & older)
Very old (85 yrs & older)


Cross-Sectional Study
Quantitative Study


Wall, Charlotte Louise, Lowe, Michelle


Purpose This study aims to investigate the effects of resilience and social support on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in a sample of 121 veterans (n = 56) and civilians (n = 65). Design/methodology/approach Gender, age and marital status were collected, along with occupation for civilians and the unit served with, rank, length of time deployed, overall months active and location for veterans. The trauma experiences scale for civilians, the PTSD checklist for civilian and military, Resilience Research Centre’s Adult Resilience Measure-28, Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support and the Deployment Risk and Resiliency Inventory-2 scales were used. Findings The results revealed for both samples, resilience and social support (except unit support for veterans) impacted PTSD symptoms. However, social support did not mediate the relationship between resilience and PTSD. Practical implications Implications for policy and practice were discussed. Originality/value The originality of this research stems from the incorporation of both a civilian and military sample by comparing their levels of PTSD, resilience and social support.

Publisher/Sponsoring Organization:

Emerald Publishing

Publication Type:

REACH Publication

Author Affiliation:

Department of Psychology, School of Education and Psychology, University of Bolton, CLW
Department of Psychology, School of Education and Psychology, University of Bolton, ML


civilians, PTSD, resilience, social support, UK, veterans

View Research Summary:

REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary

REACH Newsletter:

  February 2021

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