The Burden of Illness in the First Year Home: Do Male and Female VA Users Differ in Health Conditions and Healthcare Utilization

Sally G. Haskell, Kristin Mattocks, Joseph L. Goulet, Erin E. Krebs, Melissa Skanderson, Douglas Leslie, Amy C. Justice, Elizabeth M. Yano, Cynthia Brandt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

84 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: We sought to describe gender differences in medical and mental health conditions and health care utilization among veterans who used Veterans Health Administration (VA) services in the first year after combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Methods: This is an observational study, using VA administrative and clinical data bases, of 163,812 Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans who had enrolled in VA and who had at least one visit within 1 year of last deployment. Results: Female veterans were slightly younger (mean age, 30 years vs. 32 for men; p <.0001), twice as likely to be African American (30% vs. 15%; p <.0001), and less likely to be married (32% vs. 49%; p<.0001). Women had more visits to primary care (2.6 vs. 2.0; p<.001) and mental health (4.0 vs. 3.6; p<.001) clinics and higher use of community care outside the VA (14% vs. 10%; p<.001). After adjustment for significant demographic differences, women were more likely to have musculoskeletal and skin disorders, mild depression, major depression, and adjustment disorders, whereas men were more likely to have ear disorders and posttraumatic stress disorder. Thirteen percent of women sought care for gynecologic examination, 10% for contraceptive counseling, and 7% for menstrual disorders. Conclusion: Female veterans had similar rates of physical conditions, but higher rates of some mental health disorders and additionally, used the VA for reproductive health needs. They also had slightly greater rates of health care service use. These findings highlight the complexity of female Veteran health care and support the development of enhanced comprehensive women's health services within the VA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-97
Number of pages6
JournalWomen's Health Issues
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011

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Veterans Health
United States Department of Veterans Affairs
Cost of Illness
illness
utilization
Delivery of Health Care
Veterans
Health
health
Mental Health
2003-2011 Iraq War
mental health
Health Services
Women's Health Services
Afghan Campaign 2001-
Patient Acceptance of Health Care
Depression
health care
Adjustment Disorders
Afghanistan

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Maternity and Midwifery

Cite this

Haskell, Sally G. ; Mattocks, Kristin ; Goulet, Joseph L. ; Krebs, Erin E. ; Skanderson, Melissa ; Leslie, Douglas ; Justice, Amy C. ; Yano, Elizabeth M. ; Brandt, Cynthia. / The Burden of Illness in the First Year Home : Do Male and Female VA Users Differ in Health Conditions and Healthcare Utilization. In: Women's Health Issues. 2011 ; Vol. 21, No. 1. pp. 92-97.
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abstract = "Background: We sought to describe gender differences in medical and mental health conditions and health care utilization among veterans who used Veterans Health Administration (VA) services in the first year after combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Methods: This is an observational study, using VA administrative and clinical data bases, of 163,812 Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans who had enrolled in VA and who had at least one visit within 1 year of last deployment. Results: Female veterans were slightly younger (mean age, 30 years vs. 32 for men; p <.0001), twice as likely to be African American (30{\%} vs. 15{\%}; p <.0001), and less likely to be married (32{\%} vs. 49{\%}; p<.0001). Women had more visits to primary care (2.6 vs. 2.0; p<.001) and mental health (4.0 vs. 3.6; p<.001) clinics and higher use of community care outside the VA (14{\%} vs. 10{\%}; p<.001). After adjustment for significant demographic differences, women were more likely to have musculoskeletal and skin disorders, mild depression, major depression, and adjustment disorders, whereas men were more likely to have ear disorders and posttraumatic stress disorder. Thirteen percent of women sought care for gynecologic examination, 10{\%} for contraceptive counseling, and 7{\%} for menstrual disorders. Conclusion: Female veterans had similar rates of physical conditions, but higher rates of some mental health disorders and additionally, used the VA for reproductive health needs. They also had slightly greater rates of health care service use. These findings highlight the complexity of female Veteran health care and support the development of enhanced comprehensive women's health services within the VA.",
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Haskell, SG, Mattocks, K, Goulet, JL, Krebs, EE, Skanderson, M, Leslie, D, Justice, AC, Yano, EM & Brandt, C 2011, 'The Burden of Illness in the First Year Home: Do Male and Female VA Users Differ in Health Conditions and Healthcare Utilization', Women's Health Issues, vol. 21, no. 1, pp. 92-97. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.whi.2010.08.001

The Burden of Illness in the First Year Home : Do Male and Female VA Users Differ in Health Conditions and Healthcare Utilization. / Haskell, Sally G.; Mattocks, Kristin; Goulet, Joseph L.; Krebs, Erin E.; Skanderson, Melissa; Leslie, Douglas; Justice, Amy C.; Yano, Elizabeth M.; Brandt, Cynthia.

In: Women's Health Issues, Vol. 21, No. 1, 01.01.2011, p. 92-97.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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N2 - Background: We sought to describe gender differences in medical and mental health conditions and health care utilization among veterans who used Veterans Health Administration (VA) services in the first year after combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Methods: This is an observational study, using VA administrative and clinical data bases, of 163,812 Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans who had enrolled in VA and who had at least one visit within 1 year of last deployment. Results: Female veterans were slightly younger (mean age, 30 years vs. 32 for men; p <.0001), twice as likely to be African American (30% vs. 15%; p <.0001), and less likely to be married (32% vs. 49%; p<.0001). Women had more visits to primary care (2.6 vs. 2.0; p<.001) and mental health (4.0 vs. 3.6; p<.001) clinics and higher use of community care outside the VA (14% vs. 10%; p<.001). After adjustment for significant demographic differences, women were more likely to have musculoskeletal and skin disorders, mild depression, major depression, and adjustment disorders, whereas men were more likely to have ear disorders and posttraumatic stress disorder. Thirteen percent of women sought care for gynecologic examination, 10% for contraceptive counseling, and 7% for menstrual disorders. Conclusion: Female veterans had similar rates of physical conditions, but higher rates of some mental health disorders and additionally, used the VA for reproductive health needs. They also had slightly greater rates of health care service use. These findings highlight the complexity of female Veteran health care and support the development of enhanced comprehensive women's health services within the VA.

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