Age differences in long-term mortality among male nonveterans, noncombat veterans, and combat veterans

Scott D. Landes, Jennifer R. Piazza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Research documenting differences in mortality risk across the life course between veterans and nonveterans has not accounted for combat status. To address this gap in the literature, the current study examined differences in long-term mortality among midlife and older-adult male nonveterans, noncombat veterans, and combat veterans. Data were drawn from Wave 2 (2004/2005) of the Midlife Development in the United States survey and linked to 2020 mortality data (N = 2,024). Based on interpretation of a veteran-combat status by age interaction term, compared to nonveterans, noncombat veterans experienced a mortality advantage at younger ages, ORmain effect = 0.12, 95% CI [0.03, 0.54], p =.006, and a mortality disadvantage at older ages, ORinteraction term = 1.06, 95% CI [1.01, 1.05], p =.004, with the crossover occurring at 73.4 years. A similar pattern was present among combat veterans, with the mortality advantage at younger ages not reaching significance, ORmain effect = 0.16; 95% CI [0.02, 1.18], p =.072; a mortality advantage at older ages, ORinteraction term = 1.03, 95% CI [1.00, 1.05], p =.040; and the crossover occurring 4.2 years earlier at 69.2 years. The findings suggest that combat status may accelerate the age-related mortality disadvantage among veterans. Studies of health and mortality outcomes among veterans should, therefore, account for combat status. When data allow, future studies should confirm whether this pattern is present in nationally representative samples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)907-918
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Traumatic Stress
Volume36
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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