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2015 HSR&D/QUERI National Conference Abstract

3093 — Employment Outcomes and PTSD in Female OEF/OIF Veterans

Vogt DS, NCPTSD & CHOIR, VA Boston Healthcare System; Smith BN, NCPTSD, VA Boston Healthcare System; Fox AB, NCPTSD, VA Boston Healthcare System; Schnurr PP, NCPTSD, White River Junction VA Healthcare System;

Nearly 250,000 veterans per year are expected to leave military service over the next 4-5 years. Although anecdotal evidence suggests that a substantial minority of Veterans face difficulty securing and maintaining civilian employment and this process may be particularly challenging for veterans with PTSD, little empirical evidence is available regarding OEF/OIF/OND veterans' occupational outcomes. Moreover, few studies have specifically focused on work outcomes for female veterans, despite some preliminary evidence that women may face unique employment concerns. The current HSRandD funded study: (1) documents female OEF/OIF veterans' participation in the workforce, occupational functioning, and work satisfaction, and (2) evaluates the longitudinal impact of PTSD on occupational outcomes.

Participants consisted of a national sample of 214 female OEF/OIF veterans who were surveyed approximately two years after separating from service and then again two years later.

Results revealed positive occupational outcomes for the majority of OEF/OIF female Veterans. For example, only 4% of the sample indicated being unemployed and seeking work, and only 8% of employed female veterans reported ongoing difficulties with occupational functioning. Moreover, over one-third of female veterans (69%) who were employed indicated that they were generally satisfied with their jobs. Despite these positive findings, a substantial minority of female Veterans reported occupational problems and results revealed that PTSD was a strong and unique predictor of a variety of occupational outcomes (average beta = .25).

These findings extend prior research, which has focused primarily on male veteran samples and documented more restricted employment impacts of PTSD in the year following return from deployment.

Findings from this study can be applied to enhance the provision of employment-related support for female Veterans.