Identifying factors that contribute to military veterans’ post-military well-being

Dawne Vogt, Matthew W. King, Shelby Borowski, Erin P. Finley, Daniel F. Perkins, Laurel A. Copeland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Prior research has examined the independent effects of demographic and military characteristics, trauma history, and coping resources on military veterans’ health. However, there is limited knowledge of how these factors intersect with one another and with veterans’ health to impact their broader well-being as they readjust to civilian life. Data for this study were drawn from a longitudinal investigation of the health and broader well-being of U.S. veterans (N = 7150) who had recently left military service. Machine learning analyses (random forests of regression trees) were used to examine how factors assessed shortly after military separation were associated with veterans’ well-being approximately a year later. Veterans who endorsed the combination of low depression, high social support, and high psychological resilience were most likely to report high well-being a year later. Neither demographic and military characteristics nor trauma history emerged as strong predictors of veterans’ well-being when considered in the context of other factors. Although most predictors were similar for women and men, depression was a stronger predictor of women's well-being. Results highlight the importance of screening for and intervening with veterans who report high depression, low social support, and low psychological resilience when leaving military service. These findings can inform efforts to promote veterans’ post-military well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalApplied Psychology: Health and Well-Being
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology

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