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April 1973

Reentry: I. Adjustment Issues Facing the Vietnam Returnee

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, Division of Neuropsychiatry, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Washington, DC. Dr. Borus is now with the Erich Lindemann Mental Health Center and the Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1973;28(4):501-506. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1973.01750340041006

With little systematic study or intervention, 3 million Vietnam veterans have returned to the United States in the last ten years. Sixtyfour Vietnam combat returnees, completing their military obligations at a stateside Army post, were interviewed during their initial months of return.

Common adjustment issues described by both adjusting and maladjusting veterans included (1) military issues of adjusting to changes in military mission, group support, and leadership; (2) family issues of adjusting to changes in family dynamics and to discrepancies between the fantasied and real homecoming; (3) social issues of adjusting to one's participation in an unpopular war and to increased racial polarization; and (4) emotional issues of adjusting to changes in temperament, to recurrent thoughts and feelings about the Vietnam experience, and, for some, to changes in drug use patterns.

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