Vietnam veteran levels of combat : perceived and actual violence

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Calvert, William Emory
Krause, Frank H.
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The purpose of the study was to investigate if a relationship exists between levels of combat experienced by Vietnam veterans and later perceptions of violence, violent attitudes, and violent participants: heavy combat Vietnam veterans; light combat Vietnam veterans; Vietnam era veterans; and non-veteran (civilian) friends of Vietnam veterans.Calvert's Brief Demographic Questionnaire (BDQ), Part 2, checked pre-military predisposition toward having later problems; Figley's Combat Experience Questionnaire (CEO) divided Vietnam combat veterans into heavy and light categories; Wilson's Vietnam Veteran Scenario and Questionnaire examined perceptions of violence by Vietnam veterans; Bardis' A Violence Scale investigated violent attitudes; and Straus' Conflict Tactics (CT) Scales (adapted) measured behavioral violence. The .05 level of statistical significance was used.Findings1. None of the four groups were predisposed to having later problems as measured by Calvert's BDO, Part 2.2. There were no significant differences among groups in perceiving the Vietnam veteran in Wilson's Scenario as being violent.3. Bardis' scale indicated no group differences in terms of having violent attitudes.4. Vietnam combat veterans did not score significantly higher on a majority <6 of 10) of CT Scale items measuring violent behavior.Conclusions1. Based upon the results of this study, any problems Vietnam combat veterans might have with violence seem unrelated to their pre-military experiences. Also, their experiences in Vietnam may or may not be related to later violent behavior.2. Previous combat may lower the threshold in perceiving violence.3. Levels of combat appear to be unrelated to later violent attitudes.4. Neither heavy nor light combat Vietnam veterans appear to engage in violent behavior more than their peers.Recommendations1. Future studies should continue to utilize Figley's Combat Experience Scale and Straus' Conflict Tactics Scales (adapted) as standard tools in Vietnam veteran research.2. Future research should include a check of pre-military predisposition.3. It is recommended that future research utilize a larger Vietnam veteran sample to see: (1) if heavy combat veterans will then score significantly higher on a behavioral violence measure; and (2) if Vietnam era veterans will outscore light combat vets, and, if so, why?