EMPLOYMENT / EDUCATION / TRAINING

Differential association between unemployment status and mental health among veterans and civilians

Article

This study aims to examine the negative effect of unemployment on mental health among 2,762 veterans and 45,095 civilians aged 18 to 50 years. Findings revealed that long-term unemployed veterans had a significantly greater number of days with poor mental health than long-term unemployed civilians. The study highlights the need for future research concerning the negative effects of long-term unemployment on veterans’ mental health. In addition to this, the study raises the need for further exploration into the topics of identity, self-perception, and the notion often present in the military/veteran culture that there is “dignity in labor.”

Abstract

This study aims to examine the negative effect of unemployment on mental health among 2,762 veterans and 45,095 civilians aged 18 to 50 years. The data were from the 2012 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey. We used ordinary least squares regression to test the interaction association between employment status and veteran/civilian status with mental health status. Findings revealed that long-term unemployed veterans had a significantly greater number of days with poor mental health than long-term unemployed civilians. The study highlights the need for future research concerning the negative effects of long-term unemployment on veterans’ mental health as well as the reciprocal relationships between mental health and occupational functioning for veterans. The findings challenge researchers to question the meanings that are associated with employment status for veterans as compared to those of their civilian peers. In addition to this, the study raises the need for further exploration into the topics of identity, self-perception, and the notion often present in the military/veteran culture that there is “dignity in labor.”

Full Reference

Tran, T.V., Canfield, J., Chan, K.T., 2017. Differential association between unemployment status and mental health among veterans and civilians. Social Work in Mental Health, 15(4), pp419-434.