Steve RoseSteve Rose holds a PhD in sociology from Queen’s University. His dissertation inquires into the problem of suicidal ideation among Canadian military Veterans returning from Afghanistan.

This site explores how social bonds make us happier and healthier by providing a sense of purpose and belonging. Drawing on sociology’s disciplinary roots, Durkheim states, “society is the end on which our better selves depend,” and if it disintegrates into a dog-eat-dog world of, as Weber said, “specialists without spirit, and sensualists without heart,” we will lose a sense of community and what Tönnies described makes us happiest: “when one is surrounded by his family and his own circle.” This sociological framework is applied to issues facing veterans in transition to civilian life, in addition to the field of behavioral addictions.


  1. Hi Steve,

    My apologies for my late comment. I noticed you are following my Blog. May I ask how you found it I am running Ads and campaigns for my Blog as well as my on line Mental Health & Wellness On Line Support Group / Community @
    http://www.mentalhealthsupportcommunity.com Support is crucial….

    I find your articles valuable, and commend you on taking the time to write to the public, most Doctors, & etc. don’t take the time to educate the public. I even have gone as far as asking some Doctors to come to my Group and do a Chat session once a month so members can ask questions in their time of struggle. I am not asking you, no pressure just letting you since 2006′ I have researched and run the Groups and only found one other Doctor such as yourself willing to give support and educate the public his name is Doctor Phelps.

    Again I commend you, I have just a Certificate in Substance Abuse, my brothers struggles daily.

    I have PTSD from childhood drama, I feel awful that I have not put much effort into my research for the military that changes today….

    Your compassion shines through, I look forward to reading more. I have hit a low with my Depression…. I will be active in my blog again soon, I have not hit such a low for many years. Ok I am rambling again I commend you, and will try my best to educate the public more for the support of the Military in my Blog.

    I am also honored that you chose my Blog to Follow =D
    Really lifted my spirits that someone as educated as yourself would be interested in it….

    Jan / JmaC

    1. Thank you for these kind comments. Looks like you are working hard to provide resources and a sense of social support for those in need of it. Your blog came up in the wordpress reader under the mental health or addiction tag.

      My PhD is in sociology but am I am currently getting further education in addictions, so I am actually taking a certificate program similar to the one you completed.

      I am very sorry to hear about your recent low with your depression. Hopefully you have access to some of the resources you list on your site, in addition to hopefully gaining strength from your support group.

      All the best,


  2. Steve, thank you for following my blog which enabled me to discover yours.

    Self Identity is a subject I have been interested in for decades. At one point in my life, I wrote down, “I may question who I am but I am certain who I am not.” I taped the note to my desk at work where it remained for nearly ten years. Last year, I became a member of a philosophy forum, only to learn there is no self; that was easy, case closed. Seriously, I look forward to reading your work, believing I may yet find those missing pieces. Health and Happiness. to you.

    1. It looks like you have a lot of experiences related to this question. I do enjoy philosophy, but think it can sometimes make the concept so abstract that it is no longer applicable to everyday life. Although I recognize there may be no ‘core self’, we for sure have a sense of self. This ‘self’ may be a constant state of flux, but it still exists in a cognitive sense and has important implications for mental health. Thank you for following and I hope you find some value!

  3. Hi, Steve. Thank you for finding my blog! Your research sounds fascinating and so needed. One of my family members is a counselor working at US army bases domestically and overseas, helping soldiers and families transition through deployment and return. One of the problems he deals with, as I’m sure you’re aware, is that so many soldiers have now lived through an unprecedented number of deployments, which makes everything about reintegration exponentially more difficult. I’m sure he and his clients would benefit from the work you’re doing. I look forward to reading more about it.

    1. Thank you for the comment! Yes, multiple redeployments for sure make it more difficult to transition back to a civilian world that is so radically different. I’m sure your family member has seen this theme many times as well.

  4. Steve,
    I spent hours and hours visiting with WWII veterans during a stint working at an Assisted Living location. I met heroes both in the building and at various homes in the community. Often the stories would be told, backed up with old photo albums. History of young men and women retold that had been buried behind a lifetime of jobs and raising families. Clearly war is traumatic and leaves an imprint, both good and bad, that most of us will never know. I was blessed to be let in briefly to a world I had only read about. I will journal more pics and stories from these brief encounters that were priceless. Thanks you for your work. Thank you to military folks young and old…

    1. Thank you for sharing this, Mark. I like what you said: “…war is traumatic and leaves an imprint, both good and bad.” This is what I’ve seen as well.

  5. Hi Steve,
    I am working on my second book which blends pastoral counseling, psychology and soul repair. Here is my opening poem. Best way to honor veterans of all wars… strive for peace and love.


    An attitude
    A mystery
    Desperately digging deep down beyond resistance and sabotage
    Soul is a place seldom fathomed deep in the dark, trenches and cold
    Only black rain and pain visible at first
    And fear touched, tasted and taunted by
    more real, too real than we can speak of… prayer of… scream of…
    Seek beyond
    Borrowed energy of forced path into intense terror and unjust wars
    projecting self through thorny brush, chaotic trees, rocky obstacles
    desiring to fly stealthily like a hawk in pursuit of prey
    feathering, tripping, panting, sweating, maneuvering… pursued!
    giving up almost
    crawling up to evaporate
    But keep going self talk… slightly beyond gibberish babble in Babel Empire
    Take in all dimensions
    Solely alone – suddenly stopped – stalked!
    Breathing arrested
    Pounding heart slowing
    Eyes opening like slow ascending elevators
    Spirit and skin stripped, melting into the desolate land littered
    with bones and residual hostile emotions
    Tears wrung out of mops heroically swabbed to clear the
    bloody fluid leftovers
    from amputations and desperate incisions of bodies, hearts and souls
    Lifting, lifted, rising
    Beyond the dew, grief, hostility, terror, isolation and stifling silence
    Weak hope still present like faint pulse
    peace still perceived, but shrinking
    joy not withstanding… not!

    1. Thank you for sharing this powerful piece! I am interested in a similar area. Do you currently have this book out? I wish you all the best in your journey.

  6. Wow just reading some of your things brought me back to some dark times for a moment there. Great work. I’m a veteran as well. Although I didn’t experience combat over there, I did experience a great deal of Military Sexual Trauma. I’m writing about it now because it helps 🙂

    1. Thank you! And I’m glad you’ve found solace in writing. It is a powerful tool for both personal therapy and sharing one’s experiences to help others make sense of their own.

  7. Steve, I’m so gratified to find your blog after you followed our little writers’ blog. My late husband was a veteran (Cobra helicopter pilot) of Vietnam. He died, not quite three years ago, as a result of more than 40 years of consequences of a catastrophic spinal injury suffered in service, and exposure to Agent Orange. I’M the one with PTSD, I’m told — and I believe it. I look forward to reading your articles, and I’ve forwarded the links to others in my family who’ve experienced the long term effects of combat service and veterans’ reacclimation to civilian life — including my nephew-in-law who’s been back from his second deployment to Afghanistan as a Navy Corpsman for three years and is still searching for his direction. Thank you.

  8. I served in the Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq in 08 and while I don’t have PTSD, I think it is awesome that you are focused on helping those who do. Keep up the good work Mate!

  9. Steve, Thanks for following my Call for Fire Seminar Blog. I served alongside Canadian Forces in Afghanistan, so your dissertation topic intrigues me. I appreciate your concern for veterans.

  10. Absolutely LOVE the ideas and purpose behind your blog. From one sociologist to another, thank you so much for the follow!!!

  11. Hi Steve, thanks for following. What is kind of amazing is that I was in the Australian Army a couple of times during my life and although I never deployed on active duty, maybe I needed to come to this blog for some healing. Good job.

    1. Thank you. I wish you all the best in your journey to healing through blogging. I am a strong believer in the power of this venue and so long as you stay consistent, you will gain the rewards. All the best in 2016!

  12. Hey, I am a US Veteran and I am so happy you have your blog. I just shared it on my blog as a SHOUT OUT to your wonderful work! 🙂 Keep it up!

  13. Hi Steve. Thanks for following ZimmerBitch. I’m impressed to find reference to Sociology in your About — even more to find mention of Durkheim! Fantastic to find a blog with a conscious theoretical underpinning. Your research topic is timely and incredibly worthwhile. Look forward to reading more about it. Cheers, Su.

  14. Wow, what a field of study you have selected…very timely I might add. During the Vietnam War we received no understanding from a heavily defined Bureaucracy and demanding military. Seems Veterans often times are left behind, though I must say we are striving toward a solution to a heavily burdened system of societal woes. All the best to you and your evident diligence towards a worthy project!!

  15. Hello Steve, your work sounds fascinating. One thing that strikes me is how the concerns of anomie, alienation etc. in classical sociology are framed in terms of some substantial shift from one stage to another stage of history (as it were).

    What I do wonder about though, is the continuity, and I wonder if those of us who are scholars sometimes risk dichotomising modernity and premodernity as radically different.

    One wonders whether (for example) soldiers in late Roman Antiquity, or late Song Dynasty China, might have seen similar phenomena.

    I’m not suggesting you do a detailed comparative study, as your focus sounds quite clear.

    But I wonder if it might be relevant to your work (if you haven’t already) to reflect on to what extent breakdowns in family relations, uncertainty about family, gender, etc. may or may not be “new things under the sun.”

    But there is clearly some uniqueness in every historical context, of course.

    (I promised myself I would keep this post concise… I’ll stop here!)

    It’s nice to see the classic texts being consulted and reinterpreted afresh, of course.

    1. Thank you for this insightful and well-informed sociological suggestion! I agree that the distinction between modernity and pre-modernity can be over-emphasized. This is for sure something I have been a bit more mindful of recently.

  16. Thank you for following my blog. I’m glad I found yours! Your work is very admirable. I currently work in Addiction Research at the University of Pennsylvania and I see a lot of slow suicides. I appreciate the constructive dialogue you are creating. Keep up the good work!

  17. I’ve seen and heard reports by police intelligence officers who suggest that terrorism is often another form of suicide. No, not the suicide bombers. Many terrorists seem to be methodical about their plan of attack, and certainly have the weapons and ammo; however, they do not seem to include an exit strategy in their plan. Strange huh? Perhaps the police fare right.

    1. You’re right.. Durkheim’s typology of suicide includes these kinds of actions. They are the result of someone who is too highly integrated into their social context.

  18. Thank you for the research you’re doing. I don’t know much about the Canadian Army, but I’ve done research into suicide and PTSD in the American military. I feel like as these wars go on (and on and on) soldiers are being forgotten about/neglected as the novelty wears off. It’s sad.

  19. Steve, thanks so much for the follow. I am flying through today but have taken a quick look at your offering here and will return soon to read more in depth.

    I am a veteran in transition (United States Army). I am also formally educated to the Master’s level in the Social Sciences (Political Science) and History/humanities, so it seems that we have much in common. For the past few years I have began concentrating more and more on philosophy/theology.

    I am not only going to become a follower of “Transitions” but will also give you a link in my sidebar under “Blogroll.” See you again soon and often.

      1. You are welcome. The resident manager here at the veterans transitional housing program and I have many interesting talks and I have told him of your blog and he is interested in visiting your opus. He has a Master’s in Psychology. I will be sending him a link to your site.

  20. Steve, thanks so much for stopping by and following me. Your blog is wonderful. Physicians, especially Emergency Physicians like myself, although we are not in official combat (although many of my colleagues are war veterans also), are nevertheless on the front lines of violence in our home countries. We never know when the next horrid disaster is going to come through those doors, and we are not debriefed. Like war veterans, we develop the classic signs and symptoms of PTSD. Some of us never get over it. The suicide rate of emergency physicians nearly parallels that of returning war veterans. Thank you so much for your good work.

  21. What a great research topic – I’m an American and our troops have a suicide problem, too. I’ve read that, over several decades, the suicide rate in our military has gone from below the national average to above it. I hope you find many participants.

  22. Your blog is very interesting, Steve. It certainly opens my eyes to possible reasons behind the increased suicide rate among veterans. I believe the atrocities of war play a big part in a soldier’s mental health and I agree that a sense of belonging and contribution is key. Keep up the good work. Thanks for the follow.

  23. Thanks so much for the follow, Steve. I can’t even imagine the psychological impact of serving in a war and although care for veterans is better than it was there’s still a long way to go. Best of luck with your research.

  24. I’m always depressed when I hear of the numbers if ex service personnel who end up in prison in the UK. Your PhD must be so relevant. Thank you for the follow btw

  25. This is a very interesting blog. In a era where society has realized the psychological trauma of WWI and WWII on our veterans, it would almost appear, in Canada, that we are repeating history. When I was growing up we had a neighbour who had survived the Japanese POW camp after the taking of Hong Kong. Even as kids we knew he was fragile from the effects of the war, and he was until he died at an early age in his 50’s. And a great uncle of mine was shell shocked in WWI, and spent his life in a mental hospital, from his 20’s until he died in his late 70’s. Nothing was available for those vets to help them recover mentally from the trauma of war. Nor to help them return to a normal life. Now, we have the tools and a better appreciation of the impact of the realities of war on the minds and bodies of our soldiers. And yet, from the news, it would appear that we (our governments) are not there for them.
    Keep up your work!
    From another Queens grad, thanks for following my blog. Hopefully it will provide you with the occasional respite from your research.

  26. You are an excellent writer. Look forward to more of your posts. Your research is important to vets and civilians alike. I am a nondenominational interfaith chaplain at our County Coroner’s Office where we see a suicide a day on average. Best wishes!

  27. Steve, it is a pleasure to meet you. I am impressed by your dedication to the causes of those who serve in the military. Interesting dissertation you chose…you might enjoy reading my post on ‘Suicide: A Spiritual Perspective’. Thanks for visiting and following my blog.

  28. I hit the follow button before reading any of the comments on this page, and before reading any of your posts other than the article with at the top of this post. That was enough. To be more precise, “…this site considers the complex relationship between the individual and society during life transitions…” was enough to get me involved to the point of following you. So, I can already see that you write well enough, and I am aware that I love to read whenever I can find the time, so lead on, and I shall be back. Read you later.

  29. What a resourceful blog! Granted, I’m American but issues-wise, I explore the same issues with mental health services and bureaucracy, especially toward government and military employees. I definitely look forward to your future posts. Thank you for following my blog; hope you come back to visit soon.

    1. Thank you for this comment. That is quite the large task for one researcher, but hopefully I can contribute a sociological perspective to the body of knowledge on these issues.

  30. This is such a worthwhile field of research. With the growing movement of dissatisfied veterans and their families I wonder if they’re on the verge of forcing the government to take better post service care of this community?

  31. Steve,

    Thank you for your insightful posts about post combat mental trauma/civilian life reintegration trauma. I really appreciate you identifying and outlining some of the contours of this phenomena.

    Which form of social sciences are you receiving a PhD in? From the material I would guess social epidemiology or sub-culture sociology…?

    1. J.Owyn,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m glad you are finding my posts helpful.

      I am working toward my PhD in Sociology, specializing in Durkheimian social theory. My dissertation applies this theoretical framework to veterans reintegrating into civilian life. The posts here rely on memoir accounts, but my final dissertation will be based on interviews with Canadian veterans of Afghanistan.

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