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Health Study for a New Generation of U.S. Veterans

National Health Study for a New Generation of U.S. Veterans 

The National Health Study for a New Generation of U.S. Veterans, a 10-year longitudinal study of 60,000 recent Veterans, is one of the largest scientific research studies of this group of Veterans. The purpose of this study is to:

  • Provide insight on the overall health of recent Veterans
  • Improve VA’s understanding of what health services Veterans need
  • Maximize the quality of care that VA offers

Participants

Researchers randomly selected 60,000 Veterans from Department of Defense records of men and women who served in the military between October 2001 and June 2008. The study group includes:

  • 30,000 Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) Veterans
  • 30,000 Veterans who served elsewhere during the same time period
  • Representation from each branch of the military
  • Active duty, Reserve, and National Guard members
  • A sample of women Veterans to amount to 20% of the total group

Have you moved? If we contacted you in 2009 or 2010 to be a participant in this study and you would like to notify us about an address change, please contact us by mail or by telephone at 202-266-4695 or 1-800-211-5272.


Methods

Researchers:

  • Invited 60,000 Veterans to complete a questionnaire on paper, online, or by telephone
  • Asked 1,000 study participants if they will allow researchers to review their medical records on certain health conditions
  • Will recontact the original 60,000 Veterans with a follow-up survey in 2014

Questionnaire topics

The questionnaire covers a wide range of topics, including the following topics:

  • Health risk behaviours: Alcohol use, HIV testing, motorcycle helmet use, seatbelt use, sexual behavior, smoking, and speeding
  • Health conditions: Anxiety, asthma, cancer, chronic diseases, depression, heart disease, hypertension, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, pain, PTSD, and TBI
  • General health: Functional status, general health perception, pregnancy outcomes, and reproductive health
  • Health care utilization: Doctor visits, hospitalizations, prescription drug use, use of complementary and alternative medicines, and VA facility use
  • Potential exposures: Accidents, blasts, burn pits, chemicals, dust/sand, falls, head injuries, military sexual trauma, smoke, and vaccinations

Time frame

A pilot of this study took place in 2009. The full-scale study began in summer 2009 and data collection for the first wave closed at the end of 2010. The study group will be sent additional questionnaires over a period of 10 years.

Study update

More than 22,000 Veterans participated in the pilot study and the first wave of the full-scale study. Researchers are currently analyzing data from the first wave of the study and plan to share their findings in future publications.

Researchers plan to recontact Veterans in 2014 to begin the second wave of this study. Over time, this study will help us to learn even more about the health of recent Veterans.

Publications

Coughlin S, Aliaga P, Barth S, Eber S, Maillard J, Mahan C, Kang H, Schneiderman A, DeBakey S, Vanderwolf P, Williams M. The effectiveness of a monetary incentive on response rates in a survey of recent U.S. veterans. Survey Practice 2011.

Yoon, FB, Jang D, Sukasih A, Kress AM, Barth SK, Mahan CM, Coughlin SS, Dursa EK, Schneiderman AI. 2013. Adjustments for misclassification of deployment status in a population based health study of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom Veterans. In JSM Proceedings, Mental Health Statistics Section. Alexandria, VA: American Statistical Association. 1996-2008.