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Racial and ethnic mental health disparities in U.S. Military Veterans: Results from the National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study.
Merians AN, Gross G, Spoont MR, Bellamy CD, Harpaz-Rotem I, Pietrzak RH. Racial and ethnic mental health disparities in U.S. Military Veterans: Results from the National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study. Journal of psychiatric research. 2023 May 1; 161:71-76.
Despite military veterans having a higher prevalence of several common psychiatric disorders relative to non-veterans, scarce population-based research has examined racial/ethnic differences in these disorders. The aim of this study was to examine racial/ethnic differences in the prevalence of psychiatric outcomes in a population-based sample of White, Black, and Hispanic military veterans, and to examine the role of intersectionality between sociodemographic variables and race/ethnicity in predicting these outcomes. Data were analyzed from the National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study (NHRVS), a contemporary, nationally representative survey of 4069 US veterans conducted in 2019-2020. Outcomes include self-report screening measures of lifetime and current psychiatric disorders, and suicidality. Results revealed that Hispanic and Black veterans were more likely than White veterans to screen positive for lifetime posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD; 17.8% and 16.7% vs. 11.1%, respectively); Hispanic veterans were more likely than White veterans to screen positive for lifetime major depressive disorder (22.0% vs. 16.0%); Black veterans were more likely than White veterans to screen positive for current PTSD (10.1% vs. 5.9%) and drug use disorder (12.9% vs. 8.7%); and Hispanic veterans were more likely than Black veterans to report current suicidal ideation (16.2% vs. 8.1%). Racial/ethnic minority status interacted with lower household income, younger age, and female sex in predicting greater likelihood of some of these outcomes. Results of this population-based study suggest a disproportionate burden of certain psychiatric disorders among racial/ethnicity minority veterans, and identify high-risk subgroups that can be targeted in prevention and treatment efforts.