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Articles   |    
Relationships Among Veteran Status, Gender, and Key Health Indicators in a National Young Adult Sample
Joel R. Grossbard, Ph.D.; Keren Lehavot, Ph.D.; Katherine D. Hoerster, Ph.D., M.P.H.; Matthew Jakupcak, Ph.D.; Karen H. Seal, M.D., M.P.H.; Tracy L. Simpson, Ph.D.
Psychiatric Services 2013; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.003002012
View Author and Article Information

With the exception of Dr. Seal, the authors are affiliated with the Veterans Affairs (VA) Puget Sound Health Care System, 1660 S. Columbian Way (116-WTRC), Seattle, WA 98108 (e-mail: joel.grossbard@va.gov). Dr. Seal is with the San Francisco VA Medical Center and the Department of Medicine and Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco.

Copyright © 2013 by the American Psychiatric Association

Abstract

Objective  Although many risk behaviors peak during young adulthood, little is known about health risk factors and access to care. This study assessed health indicators and health care access in a national sample of young adult veterans and civilians.

Methods  Data were from the 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a national telephone survey. Of 27,471 participants, ages 19–30 years, 2.2% were veterans (74.6% were male) and 97.7% were civilians (37.6% were male). Gender-stratified comparisons assessed health indicators and health care access by veteran status. Multivariate logistic regression was used to examine health indicators and health care access as a function of gender and veteran status.

Results  In the overall sample, women were more likely than men to have insurance, to have a regular physician, and to have had a routine checkup and yet were more likely to report financial barriers to care. Women also were more likely than men to report general medical and mental distress and higher lifetime anxiety and depressive disorders, whereas men were more likely to be overweight or obese and to report tobacco use and high-risk drinking. Adjusted analyses revealed a higher likelihood of general medical distress and higher rates of lifetime anxiety disorders among veterans compared with civilians, although there were no differences between veterans and civilians regarding health care utilization and hazardous drinking.

Conclusions  Findings extend the literature on health care status and modifiable risk factors for young adults by identifying differences between men and women and between veterans and civilians. Interventions may need to be tailored on the bases of gender and veteran status because of several differences in mental health and general health needs.

Abstract Teaser
Figures in this Article

Topics

veterans ; gender ; women
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Anchor for Jump
Table 1Demographic characteristics of 10,551 men and 16,920 women, by veteran statusa
Table Footer Note

a Source: 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Means were compared by t tests, and proportions were compared by chi square tests.

Table Footer Note

b Data were missing for 15.7% of respondents.

Anchor for Jump
Table 2Standardized health indicators of 10,551 men and 16,920 women, by veteran statusa
Table Footer Note

a Source: 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Weighted proportions were compared by chi square tests.

Anchor for Jump
Table 3Veteran status and gender as predictors of key health indicators among 27,471 young adultsa
Table Footer Note

a Source: 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. AOR, adjusted odds ratio. Multivariate logistic regression models were adjusted for race-ethnicity, education, income, marital status, and region.

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