Table of Contents
ISRN Nursing
Volume 2011, Article ID 954081, 5 pages
Review Article

A Theoretical Study of the Hidden Wounds of War: Disenfranchised Grief and the Impact on Nursing Practice

School of Nursing, University of Medicine and Dentistry, 65 Bergen Street, Room 1011, P.O. Box 1709, Newark, NJ 07101, USA

Received 26 January 2011; Accepted 21 February 2011

Academic Editors: T. Coombs and V. Lohne

Copyright © 2011 Janice A. Aloi. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Combat veterans face enormous challenges upon the return to civilian life, one of which is the ability to integrate incidences of death and killing into a healthy postdeployment life. This paper presents the lived experience of grief and loss resulting from the trauma of war. Social constructionist theory, due to its emphasis on meaning-making, serves as the theoretical framework. The effects of inhibited mourning due to the inability to mourn in combat and lack of nurturing upon returning home are described. Personal excerpts derived from interviews of warfare from veterans that experienced death and killing are presented. It is suggested that combat veterans experience a unique form of grief and therefore require a style of grieving that differs from those that have not served on the battlefield. Regardless of the point of care, nurses are positioned to help with the challenges of readjustment. A better understanding of combat veterans as a disenfranchised group would enable nurses to intervene in ways that contribute to the readjustment process.