Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Combat veterans face more lifelong socioeconomic challenges, sociologist finds

Date:
August 4, 2010
Source:
American Sociological Association
Summary:
From the many images sent home from foreign battlefields over the last several decades, Americans have viewed the plight of their country's combat-weary veterans as stark and often iconic scenes that seem somehow frozen in time. But recent research suggests that, for many US veterans, combat is a defining experience that often sets the trajectory of the balance of their lives.

From the many images sent home from foreign battlefields over the last several decades, Americans have viewed the plight of their country's combat-weary veterans as stark and often iconic scenes that seem somehow frozen in time. But recent research at Washington State University (WSU) suggests that, for many U.S. veterans, combat is a defining experience that often sets the trajectory of the balance of their lives.

In research published in the August 2010 issue of the American Sociological Review (ASR), Alair MacLean, an assistant professor with the Department of Sociology at WSU Vancouver, reports that in comparison to both non-veterans and veterans who never engaged in combat, Americans returning from combat face significant socioeconomic challenges, as evidenced by consistently higher rates of disability and unemployment.

"Veterans who saw combat started their work lives at a relative disadvantage that they were unable to overcome," MacLean said. "Soldiers exposed to combat were more likely than non-combat veterans to be disabled and unemployed in their mid-20s and to remain so throughout their worklife."

Using data taken from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, a longitudinal survey of families and individuals which has been conducted annually since 1968, MacLean studied the characteristics of both veterans and non-veterans who would have been between the ages of 25 and 55 in any year between 1968 and 2003. The sample included men who served or otherwise would have become eligible for military service during World War II, as well as during the Korean, post-Korean, Viet Nam, and post-Viet Nam eras.

MacLean said the rate at which both non-veterans and non-combat veterans reported themselves to be disabled remained fairly consistent at roughly 10 percent of the population in each of the years reviewed by the study.

"Compared with these two groups of men, combat veterans were disabled at relatively high rates," she said. "In most survey years, they were more likely than non-veterans to be disabled. In all survey years, they were more likely than non-combat veterans to be disabled."

Additionally, MacLean found that combat veterans were more likely than the other groups to become disabled over time. "In 1968, slightly over 10 percent (of combat veterans) were disabled. This increased to over 20 percent in 2003," she said.

And while combat veterans tended to be employed in the initial years of the surveyed period at higher rates than the other two groups, MacLean said they reported significantly higher levels of unemployment than either non-veterans or non-combat veterans in most years after 1975.

"What the data suggests is that combat may scar veterans who experience it, leading them to be less able to find work between the ages of 25 and 55, the prime working years," she said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Sociological Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Sociological Association. "Combat veterans face more lifelong socioeconomic challenges, sociologist finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 August 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100802141909.htm>.
American Sociological Association. (2010, August 4). Combat veterans face more lifelong socioeconomic challenges, sociologist finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100802141909.htm
American Sociological Association. "Combat veterans face more lifelong socioeconomic challenges, sociologist finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100802141909.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A recent report claims personality can change over time as we age, and usually that means becoming nicer and more emotionally stable. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) In the U.S., there are more than 11 million couples trying to conceive at any given time. From helping celebrity moms like Bethanny Frankel to ordinary soon-to-be-moms, TV personality and parenting expert, Rosie Pope, gives you the inside scoop on mastering motherhood. London-born entrepreneur Pope is the creative force behind Rosie Pope Maternity and MomPrep. She explains why being an entrepreneur offers the best life balance for her and tips for all types of moms. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins