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Transitioning Back to Civilian Life (Infographic)

GoFigure today looks at challenges faced by military men and women returning home.
GoFigure today looks at challenges faced by military men and women returning home.
(Image: © Ross Toro, LiveScience Contributor)

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.