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Data collection complete for large study on the health and well-being of recent Veterans

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VA’s Epidemiology Program completed data collection for the Comparative Health Assessment Interview (CHAI) research study. Through this large-scale study, VA aims to learn about how military service, deployment, and combat have affected the health and well-being of Veterans who served during Operations Enduring Freedom (OEF), Iraqi Freedom (OIF), and New Dawn (OND).

Pre-selected individuals from three groups were invited to participate: 1) Veterans who deployed to combat zones during OEF/OIF/OND; 2) Veterans who served during OEF/OIF/OND but did not deploy to a combat zone; and 3) a civilian comparison group. Researchers pre-selected individuals to join this study so each participant represents others with similar characteristics. Researchers received surveys from more than 15,000 Veterans and more than 4,600 civilians, and completed a neurocognitive assessment with approximately 300 Veteran participants.

“The CHAI study is an opportunity to learn from all who have served – whether deployed overseas or not, about how military service has affected their lives,” said Aaron Schneiderman, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.N., principal investigator on this study and Director of Post Deployment Health Services’ Epidemiology Program.

Study participants completed a questionnaire that includes questions about physical and mental health and well-being; satisfaction in work and social relationships; and suicide risk. Both the Veteran and civilian versions of the survey were designed to provide a direct comparison of experiences and health among these groups. This study includes a neurocognitive assessment for a smaller group of participants, so VA can better understand cognitive function in Veterans.

“All of the information we gathered through this study should help VA better understand the current health of recent Veterans and help VA plan for the best treatments and most appropriate benefits for them,” said Schneiderman. Learn more about the CHAI research study.