Broadcasting War Trauma: An Exploratory Netnography of Veterans’ YouTube Vlogs

Donna L. Schuman, Karen A. Lawrence, Natalie Pope

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


This exploratory netnographic study is among the first to investigate military video blogs (milvlogs) posted by Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who self-published stories on military-related trauma to YouTube. Studies have shown that self-published milvlogs provide benefits such as education, social support, and self-management of chronic physical and psychological illness. The aim of this study was to explore combat veterans’ milvlogs and to determine themes that emerged across the videos. We transcribed and analyzed content from 17 milvlogs. Our analysis yielded seven themes: motivation, loss, managing symptoms, help-seeking, guilt and shame, suicide, and connecting to other veterans. We concluded that veterans were initially drawn to vlogging to connect to others. Vlogging also served as a medium for combat veterans to tell their stories, position these stories against others’ experiences, and engage in outreach and advocacy. Finally, milvlogs may provide an easily accessible resource for developing preventive and/or mental health treatment/support links.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-370
Number of pages14
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2018.


  • military
  • netnography
  • posttraumatic stress
  • qualitative
  • service members
  • veterans
  • vlog

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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