Most Post-9/11 Veterans Report Doing Well at Work and at Home

By Brenda L. Mooney

Soldier reunites with his wife and son last year in Chicago as the 863rd Engineer Battalion returns home after a 10-month deployment. Army photo by SPC Brianna Saville

BOSTON – The overwhelming majority of veterans of U.S. conflicts since the terrorist attack on 9/11/2001 are nothing like the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)-addled, homeless opioid-addicts too often depicted in the media and in political campaigns.

In fact, according to a new study appearing in Journal of Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, most servicemembers who were discharged from the military this century apparently are doing well with their careers and family life, despite exposure to war zones.1

The research was conducted by the Women’s Health Sciences Division, National Center for PTSD at the VA Boston Healthcare System, the Boston University School of Medicine and the National Center for PTSD at the White River Junction, VT, VAMC.

Study authors pointed out that more than 2.4 million servicemembers have left the military since the Afghanistan and Iraq wars began, with another one million or so expected to separate from service in the next six years.

To determine how they and their families negotiated the many changes that come with the transition and reintegration process, the researchers surveyed a national sample of 524 post-9/11 veterans — 282 women and 240 men –to evaluate their quality of work and home life. They also were questioned about PTSD.

Results indicated that only 3% of the men reported being unemployed and seeking work. Among employed men, 90% reported working full-time with a median income of $50,000-75,000, and more than 80% of men reporting that they were somewhat or very satisfied with their jobs. While about a fourth of the men said they had some impairment in their occupational functioning, only 2% said it got in their way occurred often or always.

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Comments (3)

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  1. Matthew Jennings says:

    As an OIF veteran and a physician working with the VA, I can tell you that the majority of PTSD disabled patients had signs of mental illness prior to enlisting. Many have family histories of anxiety and depression and many had turbulent family dynamics in their youth and developed poor coping mechanisms which were exacerbated by the stress of military service, deployments and combat.

    I would like to see a study or retrospective review of those with service connected PTSD to see how many had predisposing mental illness or evidence of discipline issues in school or legal trouble as kids/teens prior to enlisting. As an old Master Sergeant once said to me, “They were broke before they joined”.

    It is good to see the results of this study showing that the vast majority of us are doing well with no signs of mental illness despite combat experiences. I do get tired of hearing from the press about how sick I should be.

  2. SFC Wayne Smith says:

    Who and where did they get this survey from. Unreal the way you people get your info. I am around a lot of VETS. That would disagree with these results!! Asking 500 or so of our great military out of the million plus service members, Is a smack in the face .

  3. Karen Bruce NP-C C&P examiner says:

    One has to wonder then why the claims volume for mental health and medical problems related to military service are so radically increased in the population. Especially with regard to claims for Unemployability and disability which seem so largely overstated and/or unwarranted. There seems to be an unprecedented and misguided sense of entitlement in this population.

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