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“Over one million service men and women will have been deployed to Iraq and/or Afghanistan. When we include their families, we find approximately seven million persons who have been affected by this service. Navigating the maze of services for active duty service personnel, veterans, and their families can be a frustrating and exhausting experience. They face a myriad of bureaucracies, each of which presents their own special challenges. Social work in the 21st century will have to come up with new and innovative ways to help these populations. I consider The Costs of Courage to be a vade mecum for navigating these waters. Social work students and current practitioners will want to have this book close at hand.”

—James H. Williams, University of Washington, Tacoma

“It is imperative that social workers... move their attention toward those who defend our freedom... Our young social-workers-to-be must be encouraged to pick up the torch and, with genuine enthusiasm, pursue career paths that will interact with and affect these wounded warriors and their families.”

—From the Preface

Combat Stress, Warriors, and Family Survival

Josephine G. Pryce, University of Alabama
Colonel David H. Pryce
Kimberly K. Shackelford, University of Mississippi

The Costs of Courage is one of the very few comprehensive volumes that shed a light on the needs of US military personnel and their families. The authors introduce social workers and other helping professionals to the dynamic warrior culture of the US military and their families and provides practitioners with the cultural competence necessary to successfully interact with members of this culture.

This book includes best practices and eclectic approaches that encourage social workers and other mental health professionals to better consider the needs of our military and their families.  The text contains the most up-to-date subject matter on social work with military personnel and their families, including thorough descriptions of major conditions suffered by members of the warrior culture in the past and present. Relevant topics such as suicide, sexual assault, veteran issues, and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue, are discussed.  The content is accented with a glossary of commonly used military terms and acronyms.


Part I: The Basics
Chapter 1. War and Its Byproducts
Reflections on War—Sun Tsu, 500 BCE
The Western Way of War—The Battle
Killing and Warriors
Drink, and Will to Combat
Soul Wounds
Casualties—Visible and Invisible
The Sexual Assault Epidemic
Chapter 2. The American Profession of Arms
Department of Defense
Total Force Demographics for Social Workers
Military Subculture
Rank Has Its Privileges
Marine Corps
Air Force
Coast Guard
The Military Family—An Integral Part of the American Profession of Arms
Example—Characteristics of Army Families
Unique Issues for Reserve Component Service Members and Families
Well-Being Within Army Families
Children in Army Families
Part II: The Problem
Chapter 3. Combat Stress Injuries
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Major Depressive Episode (MDE)
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Chapter 4. Governmental Responses to Combat Stress Injuries
Department of Defense
Department of Veterans’ Affairs
Readjustment Counseling Service—Vet Centers
Chapter 5. Suicide and the Warrior
Suicide Theory
Stigma and Barriers to Seeking Help
The Human Face of Suicide
PTSD—A Risk Factor Related to Suicide
Suicide in the Army
Suicide and Deployment to Combat
Killing, Suicide, and Acquired Capability
Suicide in the Navy and Marine Corps
Suicide in the Air Force
Post-Deployment Suicide
Joshua Omvig Veterans’ Suicide Prevention Act of 2007
Hidden Epidemic of Female Veteran Suicide
Social Work and Suicide Survivors
Chapter 6. Contemporary Military and Veterans’ Issues
Homeless Veterans
Incarcerated Veterans
Women Warriors
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue (DADT)
Chapter 7. Warriors and Families Speak Out
  The Military Experience
Difference Between First and Second Deployment
Effect on the Warrior
The Injured Warrior
Marriage and Deployment
Family Member Experiences
The Experience of Coming Home
Utilization of Social Workers
Part III: Social Work Solutions
Chapter 8. Social Work with Military Families
  Deployment Statistics
Early Literature on Military Families
Changes in the Military
Major Military Policy Changes Addressing Families
Military Readiness—An Ongoing Issue
Common Characteristics of Military Life
Formal Mental Health Help-Seeking by Military Family Members
Transitional Density and Family Survival
Predeployment, Separation, and Postdeployment/Reintegration Periods
When a Warrior Deploys, the Family Also Serves
Children and Adolescents
Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS)
Resources for Social Work with Warriors and Families
Chapter 9. Veterans’ Higher Education Challenges and Opportunities
  Military Service Members and Veterans
Educational Characteristics
Readjustment Experience
Mental and Physical Health Issues
Policies and Practices of the Educational Environment
The Vet-Friendly Campus
The Counseling Center—A Critical Contact
University Office of Veterans’ Affairs for Warriors and Family Members
The Vet-Friendly Web Page
Educating Faculty, Administrators, and Staff
Student Veterans of America
A Model Vet-Friendly Center
GI Bill of Rights—1944, 1984, 2009
Yellow Ribbon Program
Veterans’ Upward Bound Program
Difficulties One Veteran Had to Overcome to Obtain an Education Beyond High School
Veteran Students with Disabilities
The American Council on Education—Vet-Friendly Campus Checklist.
Social Work Advocacy for Student Veterans

About the Authors

Josephine G. Pryce (MSW, Our Lady of the Lake University; PhD, University of California Berkley) is associate professor of social work at the University of Alabama teaching a variety of courses in social work practice, research, and traumatic stress. She is the recipient of several awards for teaching excellence. The focus of her scholarship and writing is military families, veterans, lesbians, gay men, secondary traumatic stress, and self-care for helping professionals.

Colonel David H. Pryce (MA, University of Nebraska, MSSW, University of Texas, Arlington; d. 2012) was a social worker, author, and colonel in the U.S. Army. He served two tours in Vietnam in attack helicopter and air cavalry units, earning three Silver Star medals for gallantry and two Purple Heart medals for wounds received in combat. He served on the faculty of the U.S. Air Force Academy developing and teaching courses in American military history. Since his retirement in 1987, he has published extensively on warriors and their families.

Kimberly K. Shackelford (MSW, University of Southern Mississippi; PhD, University of Mississippi) is deputy director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services, Division of Family and Children’s Services. Previously, she was associate professor of social work at the University of Mississippi. She continues her work as a licensed clinical social worker with the Mississippi child welfare agency staff and other community service agencies for the continued improvement of services delivered to the children and families of Mississippi.

Also by Josephine G. Pryce, David H. Pryce, and Kimberly K. Shackelford:
Secondary Traumatic Stress and the Child Welfare Professional (Lyceum Books)

2012 paperback, 224 pages, ISBN 978-1-933478-37-1, $36.95
2012 e-book, 224 pages, eISBN 978-1-935871-20-0, $27.00