Duty, Honor, Country, Disparity: Race/Ethnic Differences in Self-Reported Health and Disability among Veterans

Connor Sheehan, University of Colorado at Boulder
Brenda Moore, University at Buffalo, State University of New York (SUNY)
John Butler, University of Texas at Austin

With unique occupational hazards and a sizable population, military veterans are an important group for health analysis. Yet veterans are by no means homogeneous, and the degree to which there are racial and ethnic differences in veteran health has largely been overlooked. Among civilians, racial and ethnic minority groups on average self-report significantly worse health and higher rates of disability than Whites. However, minority group veterans have favorable socioeconomic attainment, marital status and equitable occupational treatment, compared to their non-veteran peers. These favorable factors may attenuate racial/ethnic health inequalities among veterans. Using the 2010 National Veterans Survey, we analyze race/ethnic differences in self-rated health and disability status among male veterans. We find that Hispanic and Black veterans report significantly worse health and greater rates of disability than do White veterans. The poorer health of minority veterans withstands controls for a number of important socioeconomic and military experience covariates.

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Presented in Session 110: Race, Ethnic and Gender Disparities in Health and Mortality