Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health


Epidemiology & Community Health

First Advisor

Dr. May Kennedy


Objectives: This study sought to determine the relationship between combat experience and mental health outcomes. The study sought to determine whether age was a significant factor in poor mental health outcomes. Methods: Multiple logistic regression (n = 195,048) and multiple linear regression (n = 264,154) were performed on the 2006 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey. Veteran status and a host of demographic and health status questions were analyzed in relation to diagnosis of anxiety or depressive disorder (multiple logistic regression) and to number of days poor mental health (multiple linear regression). Results: Diagnosis of anxiety or depression was not found to be associated with veteran status. Among both veterans and non-veterans, diagnosis was associated with age Conclusions: Contrary to expectations, veteran status was found to be a protective factor for poor mental health outcomes in this analysis. Younger age was found to be associated with poor mental health outcomes, but was an equal association in both veterans and non-veterans, suggesting that mental health outcomes have not been worsened by recent changes in combat characteristics. Denial of mental health status, stoicism within the military community, and limitations of the survey are proposed to explain the unexpected outcome of this analysis.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008

Included in

Epidemiology Commons