Journal of Health Care and Research [ISSN: 2582-8967]
Article Type: Original Article
J Health Care and Research. 2022 Sept 03;3(2):41-50
David Palm1*, Rashmi Lamsal2, Valerie Pacino2, Shinobu Watanabe-Galloway3
1Associate Professor, Department of Health Services Research and Administration, College of Public
Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, USA
2Graduate PhD Student, Department of Health Services Research and Administration, College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, USA
3Professor, Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, USA
Corresponding Author: David Palm ORCID iD
Address: Associate Professor, Department of Health Services Research and Administration, College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, 984350 Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198, United States.
Received date: 24 July 2022; Accepted date: 26 August 2022; Published date: 03 September 2022
Citation: Palm D, Lamsal R, Pacino V, Watanabe-Galloway S. A Comparison of Mental Health and Substance Use Risk Factors between Veteran and Non-Veteran Connected Families in Nebraska, 2016 and 2019. J Health Care and Research. 2022 Sept 03;3(2):41-50.
Copyright © 2022 Palm D, Lamsal R, Pacino V, Watanabe-Galloway S. This is an open-access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Mental Health Distress, Substance Use, Veterans and Spouses/Significant Other, Behavioral Health Risk Factor Survey, Depression, Binge Drinking, Military Culture, Resilience Strategies
Background: Many studies have found that Veterans and their family members have experienced more mental health disorders and substance use. The purpose of this study compared mental health and substance use risk indicators between U.S. military Veteran and non-Veteran- connected families, so earlier and more targeted interventions can be developed.
Methods: The data for this study were based on the 2016 and 2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey in Nebraska. The comparisons between Veterans and non-Veteran connected families were made on a set of 9 indicators, including general health status (fair/poor), poor mental health defined as not good on 14 or more of the past 30 days (yes/no), ever told they had depression (yes/no), current cigarette smoker (yes/no), current smokeless tobacco use (yes/no), current e-cigarette use (yes/ no), any tobacco use (yes/no), any alcohol consumption in the past 30 days (yes/no), and binge drank in the past 30 days (yes/no). A Chi-Square test was used to determine significant differences between the indicators.
Results: When comparisons were made between Veterans and non-Veterans, some significant differences were found in both 2016 and 2019. For example, in 2016, non-Veterans were more likely to have poor mental health, ever told they had depression, be a current smoker, and engage in binge alcohol drinking. Significant differences were also found between non-Veterans and the spouses and significant others of Veterans for selective risk factors in 2016 and 2019. For example, in both years, spouses and significant others of Veterans were considerably more likely to have greater mental health distress and depression. However, they were less likely to use alcohol or engage in binge drinking.
Conclusion: These results indicate that spouses and significant others of Veterans are more likely to suffer from depression and other mental health conditions than Veterans themselves and the non-Veteran population. Organizations serving military families should develop a greater knowledge and understanding of the culture of military families to implement strategies that effectively support Veteran spouses and partners.