Factors associated with mental health in Canadian Veterans



Introduction: Mental health of Veterans remains a key public policy issue as Veterans with mental health conditions continue to rise in numbers. There is, however, limited information available about specific factors that are associated with mental health in the Veteran population in Canada despite the increasingly perilous nature of military engagements in recent decades. Methods: Regression analysis was conducted on data from a comprehensive self-reported health survey of Canadian Veterans to identify factors associated with mental health, which encompass post-traumatic stress disorders, anxiety disorders, depression, and mood disorders. Results: The findings uncover the role of service-oriented risk factors in the occurrence of mental health conditions notably, overseas deployment (OR=1.55, p≤0.001) and, to a limited extent, land forces (OR=1.34, p≤0.05). The results also show an inverse relationship between income and mental health. Further, lower-educated Veterans have increased odds of mental health conditions. Obesity was found to be a statistically significant factor associated with mental health (OR=1.45, p≤0.001) as well as smoking (OR=1.76, p≤0.001). Home ownership appears to have some protective effect on Veterans' health (OR=1.57, p≤0.001). Discussion: These findings highlight key important factors associated with mental health in Veterans, and they include overseas deployment, land forces enlistment, income, obesity, and smoking. The findings highlight the need for targeted research on the complex causal pathways leading to mental health conditions, especially in deployed Veterans and land forces Veterans so that effective prevention programs can be designed for these groups.

Full Reference

Factors associated with mental health in Canadian Veterans, Mayvis Rebeira, Paul Grootendorst, Peter Coyte. Journal of Military, Veteran, and Family Health, 2017, 3:1, 41-51.