Military Service and Health

Alair MacLean, Washington State University Vancouver

This presentation considers how the shifts between war and peace have affected the members of different cohorts in terms of their health. I will survey the research that has evaluated whether, how, and why people experience different physical and mental health outcomes if they served or did not serve in the U.S. armed forces. I will focus my discussion on the findings of previous research regarding wartime mortality and suicide, as well as other physical and mental health outcomes. Many previous researchers have shown that veterans have been affected by the trauma of combat. Other researchers have concluded that veterans may or may not have better or worse health outcomes than non-veterans at the population level. After providing an overview of the relevant research, I will highlight areas of agreement and debate, and suggest avenues for future data collection and research.

Presented in Session 163: Military Service, the Life Course, and Aging: A Panel Discussion