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Clearing Away Past Wreckage

A Constructivist Grounded Theory of Identity and Mental Health Access by Female Veterans

Williams, Lindsay, PhD, MS, RN, PHN, PMP; Pavlish, Carol, PhD, RN, FAAN; Maliski, Sally, PhD, RN, FAAN; Washington, Donna, MD, MPH

doi: 10.1097/ANS.0000000000000219
Original Articles

Women Veterans are the largest veteran population yet have significant mental health disparities, greater than both civilian women and veteran men. This article used constructivist grounded theory methods to explore the experiences of women Veterans that led to mental health outpatient service use. Twelve women Veterans revealed meaningful stories on their experiences of trauma and their use of mental health services. A broader grounded theory process model emerged, linking the categories of Trauma, Transitions, Identity, and Structure. This research provides key insight into how women Veterans make health care–related choices and process traumatic events such as military sexual trauma.

UCLA School of Nursing, Los Angeles, California (Drs Williams and Pavlish); The University of Kansas School of Nursing, Kansas City (Dr Maliski); and Veterans Administration, West Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California (Dr Washington).

Correspondence: Lindsay Williams, PhD, MS, RN, PHN, PMP, UCLA School of Nursing, 700 Tiverton Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90095 (

This research was supported by NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Science (NCATS) UCLA CTSI grant no. TL1TR001883.

The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

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