Our sample was largely male, with only 182 (3%) females. At intake, the mean±SD age was 48.9±8.0 years; 2,386 (42%) veterans reported nonwhite race. At intake, 1,577 (28%) veterans reported any earnings and 1,585 (28%) reported any days of paid work during the past 30 days, including 403 (7%) who reported working one to seven days, 274 (5%) eight to 14 days, and 908 (16%) 15 or more days. At follow-up, 1,856 (32%) and 1,981 (35%) veterans, respectively, reported any earnings and any days of paid work during the past 30 days. At baseline, mean±SD employment earnings were $285±$720 among all veterans and $1,036±$1,052 among those with earnings. At follow-up employment earnings were $341±$754 among all veterans and $1,052±1,003 among those with earnings. At baseline and at follow-up, mean days paid were 4.5±8.7 and 6.2±9.9, respectively, among all veterans and 16.1±9.3 and 18.1±8.3, respectively, among those with days of paid work. Of the 1,585 veterans who had any days of paid work at baseline, 947 (60%) also had paid work at follow-up, which indicated that although many persons in the sample were employed throughout the study, substantial turnover occurred. At intake, 3,130 (55%) reported serious anxiety, 2,920 (51%) reported serious depression, and 193 (3%) reported attempted suicide in the past 30 days.
Veterans with co-occurring anxiety and with co-occurring general medical problems had lower odds of having any earnings (odds ratios [ORs]=.81 and .45, respectively) than veterans without these co-occurring disorders. Being older was associated with lower odds of having any earnings (OR=.97), and having more education was marginally associated with higher odds of having any earnings (OR=1.03) (Table 1).
We found lower odds of having any days of paid work among persons with co-occurring anxiety (OR=.80), higher ASI medical composite scores (OR=.50), and older age (OR=.97) (Table 1). More educated persons had higher odds of having any days of paid work (OR=1.04).
The results were qualitatively similar for sensitivity analyses that excluded persons receiving pensions for general medical or psychiatric disabilities (Table 1). Of the 2,072 veterans in the sample receiving a disability pension, 345 (17%) had any days of paid work at baseline, slightly lower than the percentage of the overall sample (28%), but still indicating labor market engagement in this population. In addition, the analysis of fixed effects by year of follow-up did not show a statistically significant time trend.