HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Health-related Quality of Life of Canadian Forces Veterans After Transition to Civilian Life

Article

This report explores the health-related quality of life of veterans following transition to civilian life. Military personnel transitioning from military service to civilian life undergo a complex process with variable institutional, health, psychological, work, family, and community dimensions. For most, transition is relatively smooth; for some, transition is characterised by decreased wellbeing, including compromised physical and mental health, social problems, role disability, disadvantages in determinants of health and decreased quality of life.

Abstract

This study describes health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of former Canadian Forces (CF) men and women in uniform (Veterans) after transition to civilian life, and compare to age- and sex-adjusted Canadian norms. Mean age was 46 years (range 20-67). Compared to age- and sex-adjusted Canadian averages, PCS (47.3) was low and MCS was similar (52.0). PCS and MCS were variably below average for middle age groups and lowest for non-commissioned ranks, widowed/divorced/separated, 10-19 years of service, physical and mental health conditions, disability, dissatisfaction with finances, seeking work/not working, low social support and difficulty adjusting to civilian life. Among Veterans Affairs Canada clients, 83% had below-average physical PCS, 49% had below-average MCS, and mean PCS (38.2) was significantly lower than mean MCS (48.3). HRQoL varied across a range of biopsychosocial factors, suggesting possible protective factors and vulnerable subgroups that may benefit from targeted interventions. These findings will be of interest to agencies supporting Veterans in transition to civilian life and to researchers developing hypotheses to better understand well-being in Canadian Veterans.

Full Reference

Thompson, J., Hopman, W., Sweet, J., Van Til, L., MacLean, M. B., VanDenKerkhof, E., Sudom, K. Poirier, A. and Pedlar, D., 2013. Health-related Quality of Life of Canadian Forces Veterans After Transition to Civilian Life. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 104(1), e15-e21.