As U.S. troops are expected to be home from Iraq by Dec. 31, a new report from the Pew Research Center suggests they may have a tough time readjusting to civilian life, though religion seems to help buffer the struggle.
The survey included 1,853 veterans, finding that 27 percent said that re-entering the civilian world was difficult for them; that proportion swelled to 44 percent among veterans who served in the 10 years since 9/11.
College graduation, being an officer (rather than an enlistee) and understanding missions made the transition smoother, the researchers found, with college graduates being 5-percent-more likely to face an easy transition. Officers and those who understood their missions, compared with those who didn't, were 10-percent-more likely to revert to civilian life with ease. And religion increased the likelihood of a smooth transition by 24 percentage points.
The researchers also found that being married during service made the re-entry into civilian life more difficult, possibly because of the stresses that military life puts on family.