|Title||Can Social Policy Influence Socio-Economic Disparities? Korean War GI Bill Eligibility and Markers of Depression|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2016|
|Authors||Vable, AM, Canning, D, Glymour, MM, Kawachi, I, Jimenez, MP, Subramanian, SV|
|Journal||Annals of Epidemiology|
|Keywords||Demographics, Depressive symptoms, Event History/Life Cycle, Health Conditions and Status, Healthcare, Social policy, Socioeconomic factors, Veterans|
Background: The Korean War GI Bill provided socio-economic benefits to veterans, however its association with health is unclear; we hypothesize GI Bill eligibility is associated with fewer depressive symptoms and smaller disparities. Methods: Data from 246 Korean War GI Bill eligible veterans and 240 non-veterans from the Health and Retirement Study were matched on birth year, southern birth, race, height, and childhood health using coarsened exact matching. Number of depressive symptoms in 2010 (average age=78) were assessed using a modified, validated Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale, dichotomized to reflect elevated depressive symptoms. Regression analyses were stratified into low (at least one parent less than 8 years schooling / missing data, N=167) or high (both parents 8 years schooling, N=319) childhood socio-economic status (cSES) groups. Results: Korean War GI Bill eligibility predicted fewer depressive symptoms among individuals from low cSES backgrounds =-0.64, 95 Confidence Interval (CI):(-1.18, -0.09), p=0.022 . Socio-economic disparities were smaller among veterans than non-veterans for number of depressive symptoms =-0.76, 95 (CI):(-1.33, -0.18), P = 0.010 and elevated depressive symptoms =-11.7, 95 CI:(-8.2, -22.6), P = 0.035 . Conclusions: Korean War GI Bill eligibility predicted smaller socio-economic disparities in depression markers.