The identification of a significant issue for research and the formulation of a problem statement are the key to a successful quantitative investigation. In order to properly determine the problem statement which guides the research, it is necessary to understand both current gaps in the knowledge and literature as well as what is possible in an actual research study and what has the potential to create positive change.
There has been considerable research regarding preventing and mitigating the problem of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affecting Veterans returning from combat zones. Thus far such investigation has focused on the biochemistry of stress and impacts on the brain as well as various social determinants of resilience. It is known that early life experiences can impact on later risks of Veterans developing PTSD after combat deployment, and this includes a history of physical abuse in childhood (Zaidi & Foy, 1994). It is also clear that combat Veterans who have received successful psychotherapy or counselling in response to PTSD show improvements in symptoms and chemical markers of stress levels (Yehuda et al., 2013).

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PTSD is a significant problem for Veterans after serving their country, and it often results in difficulties adjusting after their return, including substance abuse and homelessness. The hypothesis for consideration is therefore that Veterans who were abused as children and have received counselling would be less likely to develop PTSD, or would develop PTSD with reduced severity, in comparison to counterparts who were abused as children who have not had the benefit of counselling in advance of being deployed to combat. This could be investigated through quantitative measures such as a survey administered to Veterans who are also the victims of child abuse, and comparing the incidence and severity of PTSD of those who have received counselling prior to deployment with those Veterans who have not.

    References
  • Yehuda, R., Daskalakis, N. P., Desarnaud, F., Makotkine, I., Lehrner, A., Koch, E., … & Bierer, L. M. (2013). Epigenetic biomarkers as predictors and correlates of symptom improvement following psychotherapy in combat veterans with PTSD. Frontiers in psychiatry, 4, 118.
  • Zaidi, L. Y., & Foy, D. W. (1994). Childhood abuse experiences and combat-related PTSD. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 7(1), 33-42.