Media and Communication Ph.D. Dissertations


Countering the Misconceptions of Media Portrayal Using Creative Expression: An Examination of Veterans With PTSD and the Complexity of Identity Gaps

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Media and Communication

First Advisor

Sandra Faulkner (Committee Co-Chair)

Second Advisor

Alberto Gonzalez (Committee Co-Chair)

Third Advisor

Radhika Gajjala (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Mark Munson (Other)


In American culture, we are greatly influenced by the mass media. Much of what we hear and believe to be true about our society is formulated via electronic mediums. However, there is often a distorted or misguided approach being passed from one source to the other. In the United States, men and women of the armed forces are heroes that we proudly support. Yet, many veterans are returning home post war to an environment in which they find difficulty adjusting, specifically those diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). These veterans are a part of the most vulnerable populations in our society, and as such deserve to be heard in a way that authenticates their experiences. This research examines creative expression using arts-based methods and poetic inquiry in particular to highlight veteran voices, and is utilized to counter misrepresented portrayals of veterans in the media. I argue that organizations centered on arts based methods are using their media platforms to not only raise awareness, but also to provide a different voice of representation that allows the veterans to create and convey messages regarding their own lived experience. The goal of this research is to provide an understanding of the discursive divide between veteran self-identity and the media representations of veterans with PTSD.