Veteran Status as an Explanation For SES and Health Differentials for Men in the US
This study examines how veteran status differentially influences SES and health across race/ethnicity for US men. National Health Interview Survey data were pooled over a 19-year period (1997-2015). Multinomial regression analyses assessed the effects of veteran status on SES, measured by education and income, and logistic regression analyses assessed the influence of veteran status on health, measured by self-reported health and heart disease. Key findings: (1) veterans have an educational advantage over non-veterans for men ages 18-42 and an income advantage for ages 18-85; (2) economic advantages favor minority versus NHW veterans; NHWs have an economic advantage over minorities; (3) military service has a negative effect on SRH for men ages 18-64; (4) health behaviors held constant reduced the odds of poor health for Hispanic men ages 18-85 and NHBs ages 18-42, but the health behavior-SRH association is stronger for veterans than non-veterans; (5) Hispanic veterans ages 42-64 have greater odds of reporting poor health than non-veteran Hispanics at similar ages; (6) veterans ages 18-64 are at greater risk of heart disease than non-veterans; (8) minorities have a heart disease advantage over NHWs; health behaviors exhibited little influence for minorities, but a strong effect on reducing veteran heart disease risk was observed; (9) Hispanic veterans ages 65-85 are at greater risk of heart disease than non-veterans in this age group. These results suggest military service provides an economic advantage for racial/ethnic minorities, but the economic advantage compared to their non-veterans peers does not translate into a return to better health.