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Hazel Atuel - USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. Los Angeles, CA, US

Hazel Atuel Hazel Atuel

Research Associate Professor of Social Work | USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work


Hazel Atuel's research is focused on military social work, intergroup relations, social identity, and moral injury.

Education (3)

Claremont Graduate University: Ph.D.

Claremont Graduate University: M.A.

Point of Loma Nazarene University: B.A.

Areas of Expertise (5)

Social Identity and Self-Concept

Stereotyping, Prejudice, and Discrimination

Military Social Work

Moral Injury

Intergroup Relationships

Industry Expertise (2)




Media Appearances (1)

Adoptee explores childhood trauma in the hope of helping others

USC News  online


Hefley approached Hazel Atuel, a research assistant professor, for guidance on developing a research project related to the effects of childhood trauma on the brain. Atuel immediately thought of the USC Shoah Foundation archives, essentially a rich collection of firsthand interview data with high relevance to Hefley’s interests and background ...

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Research Grants (2)

Exploring the Social Networks of Homegrown Violent Extremist (HVE) Military Veterans

National Institute of Justice $1,670,395


The proposed project will comprise two studies and utilize mixed methods to explore homegrown violent extremism (HVE) among military veterans across almost four decades (1980-2019). Study 1 will entail secondary analyses of the American Terrorism Study, 1980-2002 (Smith & Damphousse, 2007) datasets and compare veterans and civilians who have engaged in HVE on certain demographic and HVE characteristics. Meanwhile, Study 2 will explore and compare the social networks (i.e., family, civilian, military, veteran) of a comparative group of veterans who engaged in HVE, civilians who engaged in HVE, and veterans who did not engage in HVE between 2003-2019. Using a retrospective thick description approach, this exploratory study will utilize the Quest for Significance Theory (Kruglanski et al, 2017) as a guiding framework. The overall results of both studies will inform the development of a Military Veteran HVE Risk Assessment Tool that can be utilized by both the military as well as civilian law enforcement agencies.

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Virtual Reality as a Tool for Enhancing the Proficiency of Behavioral Health Providers

Department of Defense-Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs $5,157,314


The primary objective of this project is to meet the continually increasing service need for military-impacted populations by rapidly increasing the number of providers who are prepared to effectively treat behavioral health challenges among military-impacted populations.

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Research Articles & Publications (4)

Exploring Moral Injury: Theory, Measurement, and Applications

Military Behavioral Health

Hazel R. Atuel, Ryan Chesnut, Cameron Richardson, Daniel Perkins, and Carl A. Castro


This research brief summarizes and highlights presentations on moral injury related to theory, measurement, and applications. The overall goal was to identify current gaps and propose next steps to advance the science of moral injury.

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Military Transition Process and Veteran Identity

Book Chapter

Hazel R. Atuel and Carl A. Castro


Proposes a typology of veteran identity.

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Racial and Ethnic Minority Service Members

Book Chapter

Hazel R. Atuel, Ana Hollander, and Carl A. Castro


Overview of military service among racial and ethnic minority group members in the U.S.

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Military Cultural Competence

Clinical Social Work Journal

Hazel R. Atuel and Carl A. Castro


This article offers a new definition of military cultural competence based on a review of the literature. As a starting point, the defining characteristics of military culture is discussed and includes the chain of command, military norms, and military identity. Having laid this groundwork, the multidimensionality of military cultural competence—attitudinal, cognitive, behavior—is discussed. Clinical applications of these various competencies are provided.

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