New York City Recent Veteran Study

Overview of Study

Pro Vetus is an innovative, supervised mentorship program in NYC with the aim of helping Veterans to successfully transition into their civilian communities, so that they can become the next community and business leaders. Similar programs already exist within the military when a service member transitions from one base or post to another. Unfortunately, no such program exists to assist in transitioning into the civilian sector. Pro Vetus helps to fill this gap by providing trained, peer-mentors to recent Veterans. We are testing if receiving mentorship helps recent Veterans to better transition. The mentors will provide short-term (approximately three to four months) of assistance to recent Veterans within the critical domains of— employment/education, housing, family, social/community/physical activities, and medical care. Each participant in the study will be assigned to one of two groups- 1. Receive a mentor and assistance from NYC Department of Veterans’ Services or 2. NYC Department of Veterans’ Services without mentorship. At the end of the study, individuals in the NYC DVS only group will receive an invitation to receive mentorship. Participation in all aspects of the study is voluntary and a Veteran could withdraw from the study at any time.


In acknowledgement of study participation, each participant will receive the following in the mail. Compensation from the study will be made solely through the Teachers College, Resilience Center.

$20 check after they complete an initial survey (20 minutes)

$20 check after they complete follow-up#1 survey (15 minutes) 4 months after initial survey

$20 check after they complete follow-up#2 survey (15 minutes) 10 months after initial survey

$20 check after they complete follow-up#3 survey (15 minutes) 16 months after initial survey

$25 Bonus check if they complete all above surveys

 = $105 Total Reimbursement

 Inclusion Criteria


If you have recently transitioned out of the military, are living in or moving to the  New York City area, and are interested in participating in this study and providing valuable information regarding Veterans for years to come, then please click the link below to complete the informed consent and initial survey. If you have any questions, please contact the research team at Teachers College, Columbia University, at

(859) 630-5975 or 

Groundbreaking Research

Guided by Dr. Bonanno, one of the world's foremost authorities on human emotional resilience and recovery from trauma and loss, TC's Resilience Center will expand its leading-edge research on how people cope with loss, potential trauma and other forms of extreme life events. Current research focuses on the ability of individuals to adjust psychologically and to perform well under different circumstances. The Center will also study and evaluate intervention efforts aimed at improving the lives of veterans and their families.

Ultimately, the Resilience Center aims to serve as a national or global intellectual hub, producing white papers and convening conferences on promising models of evidence-based treatments and services for veterans.

Millennium Cohort Study

Dr. George Bonanno is collaborating with the Naval Health Research Center regarding the Millennium Cohort study, which is designed to evaluate the long-term physical and psychological health effects of military service, deployment, and combat exposure. Funded by the U.S. Department of Defence, the study is the largest population-based prospective health project in the US military history with over 200,000 currently enrolled participants who have served in the military. At present, Dr. Bonanno is involved in writing and analyzing data for three new research reports for publication.

Regulatory Flexiblity

As part of the ongoing research in the Loss, Trauma, and Emotion Lab, the Resilience Center is beginning a series of studies to examine capacities for flexible self-regulation, known as regulatory flexibility., in veteran populations. Future studies will aim to examine how regulatory flexibility might help in the transition from active duty to veteran status, and also possible interventions or training programs to enhance flexibly as a tool for living.

National Longitudinal Study

TC's Resilience Center is collaborating with Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR), in conducting a national longitudinal study of Service Members as they transition from active duty to Veteran status. This exploratory study seeks to assess the unique stressors Veterans face as they leave the Armed Forces and the subsequent impact on their mental health trajectories.

Peer Mentor Training and Research

TC's Resilience Center is collaborating with a unique peer-mentoring program called Pro Vetus (formerly associated with the organization Battle Buds), which pairs trained mentors from the business and non-profit worlds with returning veterans as they transition back to civilian life. The Resilience Center provides a 20-hour training curriculum for the Pro Vetus mentors. U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Geraci, who is currently a TC doctoral candidate, is also conducting a randomized clinical trial to test the effectiveness of veterans receiving the mentoring from these trained mentors.

Do Experiences Matter? A Look at Behaviors and Conditions in Veterans Varying Combat Experiences

Whitmore L, Cruise K, Geraci J, Bonanno GA.
Preparing for Submission

Abstract: The aim of the current study was to examine whether an overall dosage model or a specific experiences model were better predictors of negative outcomes after the transition out of the military for the following negative outcomes: PTSD symptoms, alcohol misuse, transition stress, and physical health symptoms. Participants (N=215) were all veterans who had transitioned out of the military post 9/11 and were recruited at veteran events throughout New York City and via social media. The current sample had a higher prevalence of PTSD symptoms qualifying for diagnosis (36.3%) and alcohol use at level of dependency diagnosis (37.0%) than current literature on veterans has reported. The overall dosage model predicted all four negative outcomes and the specific experiences model predicted all four negative outcomes with certain types of combat experiences predicting each outcome while others did not. Implications for practice and consistency with prior research are discussed.

Veteran Multicultural Competence Training

Geraci J, Bagrodia R, DeJesus C, Sinnot S, Mobbs M,  Bonanno, G.

Abstract:Due to increasing mental health concerns among veterans, multicultural competence training for civilian psychologists geared specifically towards veteran mental health is imperative in addressing these concerns. While Multicultural counseling competencies models have been developed in order to address the role of culture in training of psychologists, to date, multicultural competency measures for veteran counseling remain relatively unexplored. Thus, given the potential clinical relevance, this current study was conducted to evaluate the psychometric properties of the Multicultural Counseling Self- Efficacy Scale-Veteran Form (MSCE-V) in Study 1 (N= 90), and the efficacy of the multicultural competency training (N= 56). The Veteran form was adapted from the Multicultural Self-Efficacy Scale – Racial Diversity form. The bi-factor model was replicated with the Veteran Form (Study 1). Significantly higher scores on the MSCE-Veteran, and all subscales, were observed at post and one-month follow up compared to baseline scores by both mental health professionals and business leaders attending the competency training held at Teachers College, Columbia University. The Veteran form of the MSCE demonstrated good psychometric properties, and suggests the need for routine administration to evaluate the need for targeted training opportunities.

Transition from Military to Civilian Life: Growth Mixture Model 

DeJesus C, Geraci J, Bagrodia, R, Bonanno G 

Abstract: The recent military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are among the longest theatres of war that the United States has been involved in. Although research on the risks that Veterans are exposed to while in combat is well documented, little is known about the cumulative effect of these risks and their impact on the difficult transition from military to civilian life. The present study investigated potential heterogeneity in the transition among Veterans, while simultaneously assessing the impact of combined risk on predicting membership into these latent trajectories via latent growth mixture modeling. Data from a larger clinical trial was used to examine heterogeneity in a sample of 190 Iraq/Afghanistan Veterans. A cumulative risk index was calculated by totaling the number of identified risks for each Veteran based on risk factors featured in relevant literature. The final growth mixture model revealed the presence of at least two latent classes: a high stress class and a low stress class. Cumulative risk was a significant predictor of latent class membership; a participant who reported two accumulated risks would be three times more likely in having consistently high levels of stress, after controlling for time since departure from the military. Implications of the results and directions for future research are discussed.