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Challenges of Soldier Rehabilitation and Reintegration Need Closer Attention

A Special Issue of WORK: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation

Amsterdam, NL, February 17, 2015 – Veterans returning from combat often face a multitude of challenges: Debilitating physical and psychological conditions, a civil society that does not support and even actively criticizes the war from which the soldiers have returned, or personal and family circumstances that changed while they were away. These and many other factors can create a situation in which veterans are unable to reintegrate into civilian life as they had planned and hoped. In a special issue of WORK: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation, authors, many of whom are veterans themselves, present a wide-ranging view of the environment and treatment options for returning soldiers.

Guest Editor Rebecca Wolf, JD, MPH, formerly of the Harvard Law School Project on Disability and currently at Northern Arizona University, noted, “After returning from combat, rehabilitation and reintegration into civilian life are paramount to veterans’ long-term healing and lifelong success. This special issue of WORK addresses the challenges that soldiers and veterans face in their rehabilitation and reintegration and offers solutions to this important transition in their lives.”

The issue presents a broad scope of challenges and solutions from a diverse group of internationally acclaimed researchers from a wide array of disciplines.

A personal narrative by H.S. Kraft, a clinical psychologist in the U.S. Navy, paints a detailed picture of the wartime experiences that many soldiers face. As background, S.L. Wilcox and colleagues describe the military workplace culture, providing context for readers who are not familiar with this culture.

The challenges that veterans face include preventable deaths, gender-related stress, and disability. M.S. Gallaway and colleagues investigated preventable deaths among U.S. Army soldiers assigned to a rehabilitative Warrior Transition Unit (WTU). They found that the unique design and operation of the WTUs as environments focused on treatment and rehabilitation provide both benefits and challenges to recovery and risk mitigation.

E. Huss and J. Cwikel provide a gendered perspective and discuss women’s stress in compulsory army service in Israel. They found that coping styles for women were distinct from men’s styles. C.L. Griffin, Jr., and M.A. Stein showed how veterans minimize their self-perception of disability and how this can prevent them from obtaining assistance with future employment. T. Araten-Bergman, P. Tal-Katz and M.A. Stein address the question of whether employment status matters for psychosocial adjustment of Israeli veterans with disabilities.

Reintegration into civilian life must be faced by all veterans. S.L. Wilcox and colleagues identify post-deployment reintegration challenges in a National Guard unit and found that 30% had relationship or family reintegration challenges. Continuing on the topic of the unique challenges faced by soldier-citizens in the National Guard, J. Griffith examines re-employment and financial stresses of returning Army National Guard soldiers.

Traumatic brain injury is one of the signature injuries from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. C. Linstad and D.J. Schafer tell the compelling story of one veteran’s eight-year journey to reclaim his life and obtain community employment after surviving a severe brain injury.

Six contributions discuss a variety of treatment options for rehabilitation and reintegration of veterans. P. Zimmermann and co-authors evaluated an inpatient preventive treatment program for German soldiers returning from deployment. M.M.P. Zeylemaker, F.H.H. Linn, and E. Vermetten discuss a functional rehabilitation program for Dutch soldiers with multiple unexplained physical symptoms (MUPS).

J.-D. Collins and co-authors reviewed the literature concerning the use and effectiveness of computer-assisted rehabilitation environments for research and rehabilitation of wounded warriors. K.W. Sullivan and colleagues evaluated the challenges facing the use of computer-based, cognitive rehabilitation methods in a military treatment facility.

M.A. Bosco and co-investigators describe the symptomatic, functional and systemic challenges inherent to post-deployment multi-symptom disorder (PMD) treatment, using three case studies that show that vocational rehabilitation services are an integral component of PMD treatment. G. Wolbring and co-authors explored discourse surrounding therapeutic enhancement of veterans and soldiers with injuries.

Rounding out the issue, S. Westlund describes four veterans who found that experiencing nature in various ways was helpful in their post-conflict recovery.

Dr. Wolf expressed her hopes that “this special issue inspires others to pursue scholarship, promote policymaking and increase dialogue about potential solutions to challenges that soldiers and veterans face in their rehabilitation and reintegration processes.”

The contents of the issue are freely available and located at  


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Special Issue: Soldier Rehabilitation Guest Editor: Rebecca Wolf, JD, MPH, formerly Harvard Law School Project on Disability, currently Northern Arizona University, Department of Occupational Therapy, Phoenix, AZ, USA. WORK: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation, Volume 50, Issue 1.

Guest Editorial: “Soldier Rehabilitation,” Rebecca Wolf,

“Rehabilitation and recovery after combat trauma: The new normal,” H.S. Kraft,

“A brief introduction to the military workplace culture,” S.A. Redmond, S.L. Wilcox, S. Campbell, A. Kim, K. Finney, K. Barr and A.M. Hassan,

“A mixed methods epidemiological investigation of preventable deaths among U.S. Army soldiers assigned to a rehabilitative warrior transition unit,” M.S. Gallaway, C. Lagana-Riordan, C.R. Dabbs, M.R. Bell, A.A. Bender, D.S. Fink, K. Forys-Donahue, J.A. Pecko, S.C. Schmissrauter, R. Perales, M.A. Coombs, M.R. Rattigan and A.M. Millikan,

“Women’s stress in compulsory army service in Israel: A gendered perspective,” E. Huss and J. Cwikel,

“Self-perception of disability and prospects for employment among U.S. veterans,” C.L. Griffin, Jr. and M.A. Stein,

“Psychosocial adjustment of Israeli veterans with disabilities: Does employment status matter?” T. Araten-Bergman, P. Tal-Katz and M.A. Stein,

“A scope of the problem: Post-deployment reintegration challenges in a National Guard Unit,” S.L. Wilcox, H. Oh, S.A. Redmond, J. Chicas, A.M. Hassan, P.-J. Lee and K. Ell,

“Homecoming of soldiers who are citizens: Re-employment and financial status of returning Army National Guard soldiers from Operations Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Enduring Freedom (OEF),” J. Griffith,

“A marine’s journey from battle injury to employment in home community,” C. Linstad and D.J. Schafer,  

“Evaluation of an inpatient preventive treatment program for soldiers returning from deployment,” P. Zimmermann, J. Kowalski, A. Niggemeier-Groben, M. Sauer, R. Leonhardt and A. Ströhle,

“Blended care; development of a day treatment program for medically unexplained physical symptoms (MUPS) in the Dutch Armed Forces,” M.M.P. Zeylemaker, F.H.H. Linn and E. Vermetten,  

“A systematic literature review of the use and effectiveness of the Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment for research and rehabilitation as it relates to the wounded warrior,” J.-D. Collins, A. Markham, K. Service, L.T.S. Reini, E. Wolf and P. Sessoms,  

“Computer-based cognitive rehabilitation research in a military treatment facility: Recruitment, compliance, and lessons learned,” K.W. Sullivan, N.P. Solomon, M. Pramuka, J.E. Quinn, K.A. Teixeira and L.M. French,

“Post-deployment Multi-symptom Disorder rehabilitation: An integrated approach to rehabilitation,” M.A. Bosco, J. Murphy, W.E. Peters and M.E. Clark,

“Exploring discourse surrounding therapeutic enhancement of veterans and soldiers with injuries,” G. Wolbring, A. Martin, J. Tynedal, N. Ball and S. Yumakulov,

“‘Becoming human again’: Exploring connections between nature and recovery from stress and post-traumatic distress,” S. Westlund,

For further information, contact Esther Mateike, IOS Press, at +31 20 688 3355,


2015 marks the publication of the 50th volume of WORK: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation. This interdisciplinary, international journal publishes high-quality peer-reviewed articles covering the entire scope of the occupation of work. The journal's subtitle has been deliberately laid out: The first goal is the prevention of illness, injury, and disability. When this goal is not achievable, the attention focuses on assessment to design client-centered intervention, rehabilitation, treatment, or controls that use scientific evidence to support best practice. Issues cover a wide range of topics such as ergonomic considerations with children, youth and students, the challenges facing an aging workforce, workplace violence, injury management, performing artists, ergonomic product evaluations, and the awareness of the political, cultural, and environmental determinants of health related to work. Occupational therapist Dr. Karen Jacobs is the founding editor-in-chief of WORK.

WORK is affiliated with the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) and is endorsed by the International Ergonomics Association (IEA).


Commencing its publishing activities in 1987, IOS Press ( serves the information needs of scientific and medical communities worldwide. IOS Press now (co-)publishes over 100 international journals and about 75 book titles each year on subjects ranging from computer sciences and mathematics to medicine and the natural sciences.

All journals are available electronically and an ebook platform was launched in 2005.

Headquartered in Amsterdam with satellite offices in the USA, Germany, India and China, IOS Press has established several strategic co-publishing initiatives. Notable acquisitions included Delft University Press in 2005 and Millpress Science Publishers in 2008.