Examines the relationship between post-traumatic stress disorder, other aspects of military service, and employment among 5,862 veterans in a national Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) vocational rehabilitation program.

"Few studies have examined employment outcomes in individuals with a primary diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The current study used multivariate modeling to examine the relationship between PTSD, other aspects of military service, and employment among 5,862 veterans in a national Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) vocational rehabilitation program. Veterans with PTSD were 19% less likely to be employed at discharge (odds ratio = 0.81, p = 0.02) after controlling for potentially confounding variables. This study supports current VA efforts to expand and improve the effectiveness of vocational rehabilitation services for veterans with PTSD" (p.1). (Abstractor: Author)

Full publication title: Posttraumatic stress disorder and employment in veterans participating in Veterans Health Administration Compensated Work Therapy


Major Findings & Recommendations

"After controlling for other factors, veterans with PTSD were 19 percent less likely to be competitively employed at discharge from CWT, and of those who worked in their last 90 days of CWT participation, veterans with PTSD worked fewer days compared with individuals without PTSD" (p.433). "PTSD was associated with a decreased likelihood of employment, while affective disorders, substance use disorders, and other Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-Fourth Edition diagnoses were not" (p.433). "Although the rate of competitive employment for individuals with PTSD was lower than for those without, the overall rate of employment at discharge was low for both groups, at 30 and 36 percent respectively-a modest difference. This low rate suggests that the recent VA SE initiative, which is targeted primarily at individuals with severe mental illness, may need to be expanded to better meet the needs of veterans with PTSD as well" (p.433). "Interaction analysis did show that PTSD had a significantly greater adverse effect on employment among veterans of the post-Vietnam era, perhaps because veterans recruited during that time had especially poor employment prospects (p.433). "In this study, the proportion of veterans who reported being homeless when last in the community was 62 percent, compared with approximately 11 percent among veterans receiving general VA mental health services" (p.433). (Abstractor: Author)