Disability Correlates in Canadian Armed Forces Regular Force Veterans
Thompson, James M.
McColl, Mary Ann
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Purpose: This study was undertaken to inform disability mitigation for military veterans by identifying personal, environmental, and health factors associated with activity limitations. Method: A sample of 3154 Canadian Armed Forces Regular Force Veterans who were released during 1998–2007 participated in the 2010 Survey on Transition to Civilian Life. Associations between personal and environmental factors, health conditions and activity limitations were explored using ordinal logistic regression. Results: The prevalence of activity reduction in life domains was higher than the Canadian general population (49% versus 21%), as was needing assistance with at least one activity of daily living (17% versus 5%). Prior to adjusting for health conditions, disability odds were elevated for increased age, females, non-degree post-secondary graduation, low income, junior non-commissioned members, deployment, low social support, low mastery, high life stress, and weak sense of community belonging. Reduced odds were found for private/recruit ranks. Disability odds were highest for chronic pain (10.9), any mental health condition (2.7), and musculoskeletal conditions (2.6), and there was a synergistic additive effect of physical and mental health co-occurrence. Conclusions: Disability, measured as activity limitation, was associated with a range of personal and environmental factors and health conditions, indicating multifactorial and multidisciplinary approaches to disability mitigation.