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Carl Castro

Director Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families Associate Professor Social Work Dept. of Social Change and Innovation

Current research efforts include assessing the effects of combat and operations tempo (OPTEMPO) on soldier, family and unit readiness.

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Carl Castro
Phone:  213.821.3623
Rank:  Tenure Track Faculty
Department:  Social Change and Innovation
Assignment:  Ground

Carl Castro

Director Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families Associate Professor Social Work Dept. of Social Change and Innovation

Current research efforts include assessing the effects of combat and operations tempo (OPTEMPO) on soldier, family and unit readiness.

Media Contact

Biography

Carl A. Castro is an associate professor, also serving as the director of the Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans & Military Families. Castro joined the faculty in 2013 after serving 33 years in the U.S. Army, where he obtained the rank of colonel. Castro began his military career as an infantryman in 1981. He served in a variety of research and leadership positions, including as director of the Military Operational Medicine Research Program, Headquarters, U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, Fort Detrick, Maryland. Castro has completed two tours in Iraq, as well as peacekeeping missions to Saudi Arabia, Bosnia and Kosovo. He is currently chair of a NATO research group on military veteran transitions, a Fulbright Scholar and member of several Department of Defense research advisory panels focused on psychological health. He is the current editor of Military Behavioral Health, the flagship academic journal about the biopsychosocial health and well-being of service members, veterans and military families. Castro has authored more than 150 scientific articles and reports in numerous research areas. His current research efforts focus on assessing the effects of combat and operations tempo (OPTEMPO) on soldier, family and unit readiness, and evaluating the process of service members’ transitions from military to civilian life.

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Education

University of Colorado: PhD
University of Colorado: MA
Wichita State University: BA

Area of Expertise

  • Veterans Affairs
  • Veterans and Military Families
  • Military Transition Back to Civilian Life
  • Military Affairs
  • Psychological Health
  • Effects of Combat
  • Behavioral Health
  • Mental Health
  • Veterans in High Education

Industry Experience

  • Social Services
  • Employment Services
  • Health Care - Services
  • Education/Learning
  • Military
  • Mental Health Care
  • Government Relations

Affiliations

  • Fulbright Scholar
  • Military Behavioral Health: Editor

Accomplishments

Gerson Award, American Psychological Association
2017
Fulbright Specialist, J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board
2014

Articles & Publications

PTSD in U.S. Veterans: The Role of Social Connectedness, Combat Experience and Discharge | MDPI
Sara Kintzle, Nicholas Barr, Gisele Corletto and Carl A. Castro
Service members who transition out of the military often face substantial challenges during their transition to civilian life. Leaving military service requires establishing a new community as well as sense of connectedness to that community. Little is known about how social connectedness may be related to other prominent transition outcomes, particularly symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The purpose of this study was to explore the role of social connectedness in the development of PTSD, as well as its relationship to the known risk factors of combat exposure and discharge status. Data used were drawn from a needs assessment survey of 722 veterans. A path model was specified to test direct and indirect effects of combat experiences, non-honorable discharge status, and social connectedness on PTSD symptoms. Results demonstrated positive direct effects for combat experiences and non-honorable discharge status on PTSD symptoms while social connectedness demonstrated a negative direct effect. Both combat experiences and non-honorable discharge status demonstrated negative direct effects on social connectedness and indirect on PTSD through the social connectedness pathway. Study findings indicate social connectedness may be an important factor related to PTSD in veterans as well as an intervention point for mitigating risk related to combat exposure and discharge status.

How the Potential Benefits of Active Combat Events May Partially Offset Their Costs | International Journal of Stress Management
Britt, Thomas W. Herleman, Hailey A. Odle-Dusseau, Heather N. Moore, DeWayne Castro, Carl Andrew Hoge, Charles W.
2017 The present research examined how particular types of combat exposure may be associated not only with increased mental health symptoms but also with perceived benefits that are associated with decreased mental health symptoms.

Research at the Tip of the Spear | Psychiatrists in Combat
Carl Andrew Castro
2017 This essay is a personal story that spans a period of approximately 30 years, yet focuses on my time conducting behavioral health research during the war in Iraq. It is based on my memory and view of events that transpired before and during the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan—conflicts that I like to refer to as the Great Wars on Terror.

Refining Trauma-Focused Treatments for Servicemembers and Veterans With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder | JAMA Psychiatry
Charles W. Hoge, MD; Daniel J. Lee, MD; Carl A. Castro, PhD
2016 Fifteen years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq have generated unprecedented investment in mitigating war-related mental health problems, including large increases in funding since 2007 for clinical trials of trauma-focused psychotherapies.

Research Focus

The State of the American Veteran: The San Francisco Veterans Study
The State of the American Veteran: The Chicagoland Veterans Study
The State of the American Veteran: The Orange County Veterans Study
The State of the American Veteran: The Los Angeles County Veterans Study

Research Grants

Using Artificial Intelligence to Reduce Military Suicides
USC Center for Artificial Intelligence in Society, USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work & USC Viterbi School of Engineering $$600,000
2018-03-28

As suicide rates among active-duty service members and veterans continue to outpace rates among the general population, researchers from the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work have joined forces to use technology to identify, as early as possible, those at risk. The collaboration, as part of the USC Center for Artificial Intelligence in Society, or CAIS, is believed to be one of the first of its kind to use artificial intelligence to model the strength or weakness of military personnel’s social networks to ascertain suicidal thinking, depression and anxiety. The work by the USC interdisciplinary research team will be supported by a $600,000 grant from the Army Research Office. An estimated 8,000 military veterans commit suicide every year, according to a 2012 report issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Additionally, one active-duty member kills himself or herself every 36 hours, according to 2010 statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Team members include: Milind Tambe and Eric Rice, co-founders of the USC Center for Artificial Intelligence in Society Carl Castro, associate professor of the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, retired U.S. Army colonel and research director for the USC Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans & Military Families Phebe Vayanos, assistant professor of industrial and systems engineering and computer science and associate director of CAIS. The team hopes to use the lessons learned from their study to increase early interventions for at-risk military personnel and veterans facing acute stress during transitional moments. These include deployment, returning home from service, joining and leaving the military, and transferring to a different duty assignment in the U.S. and abroad.

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Availability

  • Keynote
  • Panelist
  • Author Appearance

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