A nationally representative sample of veteran and matched non-veteran college students: Mental health symptoms, suicidal ideation, and mental health treatment

Publication Abstract

Valenstein, Marcia, James M. Lepkowski, Brady T. West, Daniel Eisenberg, Kara Zivin, Stephen Lowell DesJardins, Rebecca Clive, Dara Ganoczy, et al. Forthcoming. "A nationally representative sample of veteran and matched non-veteran college students: Mental health symptoms, suicidal ideation, and mental health treatment." Journal of American College Health.

Objective: To assess mental health symptoms, suicidal ideation/behaviors, and treatment among a nationally representative probability sample of student veterans. Participants: Student veterans enrolled in post-secondary educational institutions and matched comparison students. Methods: Sampled participants completed an online survey (n = 1,838). Analyses accounted for the complex sample design and non-response. Results: Substantial percentages of student veterans screened positive for: depression (36.9%, 95% CI: 31.1-42.7), PTSD (35.7%, 95% CI 29.9-41.5), anxiety (29.5%, 95% CI 26.8-32.2), and suicidal ideation (14.6%, 95% CI 12.1-17.1), with student veterans having odds ratios between 1.7 to 2.4 for positive screens compared to non-veteran students. Only 41.5% (95% CI 33.0-50.0) of student veterans with positive screens received treatment, although they had 50% higher odds of receiving treatment than non-veteran students. Conclusions: Student veterans have high rates of mental health symptoms and low rates of treatment. However, they are more likely to receive treatment than comparison students.

10.1080/07448481.2020.1753751

Keywords:
Social Psychology Methodology

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