Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Kinesiology (MKin)


Kinesiology and Physical Education


Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Dr. Jill Tracey

Advisor Role



This qualitative phenomenological study explored the potential for growth within injured or ill Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Veterans, as well as members of their support networks. Growth is most commonly understood as perceived positive changes experienced by individuals following a stressor, which propel them to a higher level of functioning (Salim, Wadey, & Diss, 2015). Guided by the work of Roy-Davis, Wadey, and Evans (2016) and through the lens of Organismic Valuing Theory (Joseph & Linley, 2005), this study sought out a context-specific understanding of the concept of growth within CAF. An additional focus was on the impact of veterans’ stress and/or trauma on support members and the potential that they may experience positive changes following indirect exposure to a loved one’s trauma (Dekel, Levin, & Solomon, 2015). Organismic Valuing Theory was explored as a potential theory to understand growth within the CAF context.

This research expanded on the sport injury growth research done by Roy-Davis et al. (2016) and caregiver growth research (Leith, Jewel & Stein, 2018; Mavandadi et al., 2014; Savage & Bailey, 2004). Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 7 participants including 1 dyad, 1 triad, a single Veteran, and a single support person. Through the interviews six higher order themes emerged: 1) relationships, 2) the power of the uniform, 3) new perspectives, 4) a complex support paradox, 5) letting go and moving forward, and 6) The Caregiver Experience. As highlighted by the participants, support members, particularly in the CAF, are key resources in the recovery and growth process but are often overlooked. A timely subject, this research benefits both Veterans and their support persons struggling following stressful and traumatic situations.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season


Available for download on Saturday, April 30, 2022