Comparing Veteran and Non-veteran Racial Disparities in Mid-life Health and Well-being
Using National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 data on mid-life physical health, mental health, and self-esteem, I examine inter- and intra-racial disparities in health and well-being among veteran and non-veteran men (N = 2440). After controlling for selectivity into the military via propensity weighting, I find that black veterans have higher self-esteem than white veterans and comparable black non-veterans, but white veterans have similar mid-life self-esteem as their non-veteran counterparts. I find no evidence of disparities in health for depressive symptoms and self-rated health after taking selection into military service into account. The results suggest that aspects of military service may increase blacks’ self-esteem, possibly due to less discrimination and more opportunity.