Employment Status of Patients in the VA Health System: Implications for Mental Health Services

Author(s): Zivin, Kara; Bohnert, Amy S. B.; Mezuk, Briana; Ilgen, Mark A., et al.

Organizational Author(s): SMITREC, Univ. of Michigan; Dept. of Veterans Affairs; Univ. of Michigan Medical School

Funding Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Resource Availability: Publicly available

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Evaluates the association between mental disorders and labor force status among Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care users, many of whom are unemployed.


"Most veterans who use Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care are not employed. This study evaluated the association between mental disorders and labor force status among VA health care users. Methods: Multinomial logistic regression analyses modeled the relationship between mental disorders and employment among patients aged 18 to 64 who completed the 2005 Survey of Healthcare Experiences of Patients" (p.1). (Abstractor: Author)

Major Findings & Recommendations

"Survey data were from 98,867 patients who met eligibility criteria; they represented 5,954,262 VA patients nationwide. Employment status was as follows: disabled, 36%; employed, 35%; retired, 20%; unemployed, 7%; and other employed (student or homemaker), 2%. VA patients had a lower rate of labor force participation than both the general nonveteran U.S. population and the overall veteran population: 42%, 78%, and 81%, respectively).Compared with all other employment status groups, retired respondents were more likely to be male and white, whereas students or homemakers were more likely to be women.

Unemployed persons were less likely to be married and had lower income than all other groups. Disabled VA patients had the highest rates of service-connected disabilities and the greatest number of medical comorbidities. The group with the largest proportion of OEF-OIF veterans was students or homemakers.

Mental disorders were highly prevalent among these VA patients: 19% had depression, 15% had PTSD, 7% had a substance use disorder, 7% had anxiety, 4% had schizophrenia, and 3% had bipolar disorder. Rates of all mental disorders were highest in the disabled population (except for bipolar disorders, which were highest in the other employed group), whereas substance use disorders were highest among the unemployed" (p.1). (Abstractor: Author)

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Target Populations: Veterans/Spouses

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Views: 8
Publication Date: 2011
Posted: 3/3/2015 12:07 PM
Posted In: Workforce System Strategies
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