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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 104, Issue 1, pp e15–e21 | Cite as

Health-related Quality of Life of Canadian Forces Veterans After Transition to Civilian Life

  • Jim ThompsonEmail author
  • Wilma Hopman
  • Jill Sweet
  • Linda VanTil
  • Mary Beth MacLean
  • Elizabeth VanDenKerkhof
  • Kerry Sudom
  • Alain Poirier
  • David Pedlar
Quantitative Research

Abstract

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.

Key words

Veterans veterans health SF-12 health-related quality of life mental health chronic disease 

Résumé

OBJECTIFS: Décrire la qualité de vie liée à la santé (QVLS) des hommes et des femmes en uniforme ayant été membres des Forces canadiennes («anciens combattants ») après leur transition à la vie civile, et la comparer aux normes canadiennes ajustées selon l’âge et le sexe.

MÉTHODE: L’Enquête sur la transition à la vie civile de 2010 était une enquête téléphonique nationale assistée par ordinateur menée auprès du personnel de la force régulière des Forces canadiennes ayant été libéré entre 1998 et 2007. Nous avons évalué la QVLS à l’aide des cotes sommaires physiques (CSP) et mentales (CSM) du questionnaire SF-12. Nous avons procédé à l’analyse descriptive de la QVLS selon les caractéristiques sociodémographiques, de la santé, de l’invalidité et des déterminants de la santé.

RÉSULTATS: L’âge moyen des répondants était de 46 ans (20–67 ans). Comparativement aux moyennes canadiennes ajustées selon l’âge et le sexe, la CSP (47,3) était inférieure et la CSM était semblable (52,0). Les CSP et CSM étaient variablement inférieures à la moyenne dans les groupes d’âge moyen; elles étaient les plus faibles pour le grade des sous-officiers, les personnes veuves, divorcées ou séparées, les personnes ayant entre 10 et 19 ans d’ancienneté, les personnes ayant des troubles médicaux physiques et mentaux, les personnes handicapées, les personnes insatisfaites sur le plan financier, les personnes cherchant du travail ou sans travail, les personnes ayant peu de soutien social et celles ayant du mal à s’ajuster à la vie civile. Parmi la clientèle du ministère des Anciens Combattants du Canada, 83 % avaient une CSP inférieure à la moyenne, 49 % avaient une CSM inférieure à la moyenne, et la CSP moyenne (38,2) était significativement inférieure à la CSM moyenne (48,3).

CONCLUSION: La QVLS varie en fonction d’un éventail de facteurs biopsychosociaux, ce qui suggère l’existence de facteurs de protection et de sous-groupes vulnérables qui pourraient bénéficier d’interventions ciblées. Ces constatations intéresseront les organismes d’appui aux anciens combattants en transition vers la vie civile et les chercheurs qui élaborent des hypothèses pour mieux comprendre le bien-être des anciens combattants canadiens.

Mots clés

ancien combattant santé anciens combattants SF-12 qualité de vie liée à la santé santé mentale maladie chronique 

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jim Thompson
    • 1
    • 5
    Email author
  • Wilma Hopman
    • 2
    • 3
  • Jill Sweet
    • 1
  • Linda VanTil
    • 1
  • Mary Beth MacLean
    • 1
  • Elizabeth VanDenKerkhof
    • 3
  • Kerry Sudom
    • 4
  • Alain Poirier
    • 1
  • David Pedlar
    • 1
  1. 1.Veterans Affairs CanadaCharlottetownCanada
  2. 2.Clinical Research CentreKingston General HospitalKingstonCanada
  3. 3.Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine and the School of NursingQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada
  4. 4.Department of National DefenceOttawaCanada
  5. 5.Department of Community Health and EpidemiologyQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada

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