Health-related Quality of Life of Canadian Forces Veterans After Transition to Civilian Life
Van Til, Linda
Maclean, Mary Beth
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OBJECTIVES: Describe health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of former Canadian Forces (CF) men and women in uniform (Veterans) after transition to civilian life, and compare to age- and sex-adjusted Canadian norms. METHODS: The 2010 Survey on Transition to Civilian Life was a national computer-assisted telephone survey of CF Regular Force personnel who released during 1998–2007. HRQoL was assessed using the SF-12 Physical (PCS) and Mental (MCS) Component Summary scores. Descriptive analysis of HRQoL was conducted for socio-demographic, health, disability and determinants of health characteristics. RESULTS: Mean age was 46 years (range 20–67). Compared to age- and sex-adjusted Canadian averages, PCS (47.3) was low and MCS was similar (52.0). PCS and MCS were variably below average for middle age groups and lowest for non-commissioned ranks, widowed/divorced/separated, 10–19 years of service, physical and mental health conditions, disability, dissatisfaction with finances, seeking work/not working, low social support and difficulty adjusting to civilian life. Among Veterans Affairs Canada clients, 83% had below-average physical PCS, 49% had below-average MCS, and mean PCS (38.2) was significantly lower than mean MCS (48.3). CONCLUSIONS: HRQoL varied across a range of biopsychosocial factors, suggesting possible protective factors and vulnerable subgroups that may benefit from targeted interventions. These findings will be of interest to agencies supporting Veterans in transition to civilian life and to researchers developing hypotheses to better understand well-being in Canadian Veterans.