Military service and men's health trajectories in later life.

TitleMilitary service and men's health trajectories in later life.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsWilmoth, JM, London, AS, Parker, WM
JournalJ Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci
Date Published2010 Nov
ISSN Number1758-5368
KeywordsActivities of Daily Living, Aged, Aging, Health Status, Humans, Korean War, Male, Middle Aged, Military Personnel, Multivariate Analysis, Racial Groups, Self-Assessment, Veterans, Vietnam Conflict, World War II

OBJECTIVES: This study examines differences in the relationship between veteran status and men's trajectories of health conditions, activities of daily living limitations, and self-rated health.

METHODS: We use data on 12,631 men drawn from the 1992-2006 waves of the Health and Retirement Study to estimate growth curve models that examine differences in health trajectories between nonveterans and veterans, veterans with and without wartime service, and war service veterans who served during World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and multiple wars.

RESULTS: The results indicate that veterans have better health at the mean age of 66.2 years, but experience greater age-related changes in health than nonveterans. Similarly, men who served during wartime have better health at the mean age, but more age-related changes in health than men who did not serve during wartime. Among war veterans, Vietnam veterans are in poorer health at the mean age, but they experience less substantial age-related health changes than men who served during previous wars.

DISCUSSION: Although veterans experience better health relative to nonveterans around retirement age, they have poorer health than nonveterans among the oldest old. These findings inform our understanding of the veteran-nonveteran health-mortality paradox found in previous research and suggest a health crossover among veterans and nonveterans in later life.

User Guide Notes

Endnote Keywords

Veterans: statistics/numerical/Models/Mens health/Age differences/MORTALITY

Endnote ID


Alternate JournalJ Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci
Citation Key7516
PubMed ID20864570
PubMed Central IDPMC2954333
Grant List5R01AG028480 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States