In the Service of Science: Veteran-Led Research in the Investigation of a Theatre-Based Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Treatment

Alisha Ali, Stephan Wolfert, Bruce D. Homer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Research data have consistently shown that military veterans are more likely than the general U.S. population to experience mental health problems, as well as homelessness and unemployment. Additionally, data show exceptionally high attrition rates from mainstream mental health treatments for veterans. While several emerging, alternative programs have great potential to support veterans in dealing with trauma and with the transition to civilian life, there is a paucity of research documenting the effectiveness of these programs. This lack of data prevails partly because of biases within the scientific community, which remains largely ignorant of the pervasive difficulties confronting veterans. Our antidote to this problem is a model of veteran-led research. In this article, we outline a set of principles of veteran-led research that we have developed through our ongoing empirical investigation of the DE-CRUIT treatment program, which uses theatre to address traumatic stress and related problems encountered by veterans. We describe the challenges involved in prioritizing the veteran perspective in conducting research within a mainstream scientific context as well as ways of meeting these challenges in order to use the tools of science to better serve our nation’s veterans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Humanistic Psychology
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019



  • arts-based programs
  • military veterans
  • theatre
  • trauma treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science

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