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Muskingum University 2015 Graduate (and U.S. Marine Corps veteran) to Present at National Conference;
Research Involves PTSD and Moral Injury Among Veterans of Six Different Conflicts


Muskingum University alumnus Lamar Dowling ’15 has been selected to present an abstract of his research findings at The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) 69th Annual Scientific Meeting, to be held this November in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Dowling graduated from Muskingum in May of 2015 with degrees in psychology and sociology and is now pursuing a master’s degree in social work at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.

The abstract Dowling will present is based on his senior research seminar at Muskingum, titled Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Moral Injury in Veterans of Six Conflicts: A Cohort Analysis. His research focused on a better understanding of veterans’ experiences and the long-term effects war has on veterans. A key element of the research is the distinction between post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a different phenomenon, known as “moral injury,” which can occur with PTSD. Moral injury is broadly defined as the impact of a traumatic experience on an individual’s value systems and beliefs.

His interest in this subject was motivated in part by the fact that he is a United States Marine Corps veteran who served a tour of duty in Afghanistan and came to Muskingum to complete his degree while serving as a member of the Marine Corps reserves.

The opportunity to present at the GSA conference is the latest in a long list of academic accomplishments for Dowling. As a student at Muskingum, he earned the Cora I. Orr Award in Psychology and the M. Wesley Roper Award in Sociology. Both awards are granted to seniors who demonstrate an outstanding commitment to excellence in the pursuit of their major. In addition, he made presentations of his work in 2015 at the Midwest Psychological Association's annual meeting and the North Central Sociological Association annual meeting.

Dowling’s academic advisors at Muskingum were Associate Professor of Psychology Dr. Dinah F. Meyer and Associate Professor of Sociology Dr. Sandra E. Schroer. For his senior research, he was advised by Dr. Schroer and Associate Professor of Psychology Dr. Hallie E. Baker. Dr. Baker submitted Dowling’s work to the GSA conference, along with her co-author, Dr. Pamela Brown of Winston-Salem University in North Carolina. Dr. Brown is assistant professor of gerontology and is the gerontology program coordinator at Winston-Salem and has also served as an adjunct faculty member at Muskingum. Dr. Baker and Dr. Brown will act as co-presenters with Dowling for the GSA presentation.

The GSA meeting, which this year is themed New Lens on Aging: Changing Attitudes, Expanding Possibilities, represents a major platform for Dowling’s work, since it is attended by more than 3.000 of the society’s members.

Founded in 1945, The Gerontological Society of America is the nation's oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education and practice in the field of aging.

With more than 5,500 members from 50 countries, it fosters collaboration between physicians, nurses, biologists, behavioral and social scientists, psychologists, social workers, economists, policy experts, those who study the humanities and arts, and many other scholars and researchers in aging.