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Table 1 Descriptive characteristics of 359 veterans of operation enduring freedom (OEF) or operation Iraqi freedom (OIF) +

From: Access to the US Department of Veterans Affairs health system: self-reported barriers to care among returnees of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom

Variables All veterans N = 359 PNS + n = 141 OEF/OIF + n = 218
Predisposing characteristics
Mean age (range 20–66) §§§ 35.1 years 32.9 years 36.6 years
Gender (% men) 91.1% 92.9% 89.9%
Marital status    
Never married 24.2% 26.2% 22.9%
Married 52.4% 48.9% 54.6%
Living as married 6.7% 6.4% 6.9%
Divorced/separated 16.4% 18.4% 15.7%
Mean years of education §§§ 14.5 years 13.8 years 14.9 years
Race/ethnicity§    
White non-hispanic 77.4% 85.1% 72.4%
Hispanic 10.6% 5.0% 12.3%
Black non-hispanic 9.5% 9.2% 11.5%
Other groups 2.5% 0.7% 3.7%
Employment§§§    
Employed 61.8% 58.2% 64.2%
Student 15.9% 15.6% 16.1%
Unemployed looking for work 11.1% 9.9% 11.9%
Other non-working 10.5% 15.9% 6.9%
Duty status at baseline §§§    
Active duty 11.7% 20.6% 6.0%
Inactive reserve 10.6% 13.5% 8.7%
Active reserve 20.9% 23.4% 19.3%
Temporary duty release 1.7% 2.8% 0.9%
Completed service 55.2% 39.7% 65.1%
Service branch (any service in each branch) §    
Any Army 49.1% 50.3% 48.2%
Any Navy 8.1% 5.7% 9.6%
Any Air Force 8.7% 4.2% 11.5%
Any Marine 11.2% 14.9% 8.8%
Any National Guard 24.3% 26.9% 22.5%
Enabling characteristics
Service connected (self report) 65.2% 73.8% 59.6%
Exposures    
OEF/OIF deployment months (range 0–65 months) § 14.6 months 15.9 months 13.8 months
Months since return (range 0–135 months) §§§ 42.4 months 34.1 months 47.8 months
Gulf War tours 12.0% 9.3% 13.8%
Exposed to blast §§§ 80.2% 94.3% 71.1%
Need characteristics
Ever had a mental health problem (self report) §§§ 67.2% 87.9% 53.7%
CESD† scale mean 18.6 23.2 15.5
Dyadic adjustment scale score (mean) 22.4 21.4 23.1
PTSD diagnosis (y/n) §§§ 26.5% 44.7% 14.7%
Major depressive disorder diagnosis §§§ 29.5% 42.6% 21.1%
VA health system geographic location §    
Southeast 40.9% 28.4% 49%
North 59.1% 71.6% 51%
Barriers to VA care
Any perceived barrier 62.4% 63.8% 61.5%
Wait times 26.7% 23.4% 28.9%
Staff concerns/reputation 15.0% 16.3% 14.2%
Fear/embarrassment/stigma 13.9% 17.0% 11.9%
Distance/location 12.0% 12.8% 11.5%
Paperwork/hassle 10.3% 9.9% 10.6%
Lack of services information 9.5% 10.6% 8.7%
Limited services hours 3.3% 5.0% 2.3%
Other insurance/money/ private MD 3.3% 1.4% 4.6%
Fear military records access 1.7% 2.8% 0.9%
Active duty 1.4% 2.8% 0.5%
Total barriers (0–3) mean ± standard deviation (SD) Among all veterans, 0 barriers = 37.6%; 1 = 28.1%; 2 = 18.3%; 3 = 15.8% 1.1 (± 1.1) 1.2 (± 1.1) 1.1 (± 1.1)
Utilization
VA current treatment §§§ 53.0% 65.9% 40.3%
VA pain treatment last 3 months §§§ 37.8% 52.5% 28.2%
VA mental health treatment last 3 months §§ 51.6% 61.4% 41.7%
All VA services in last 3 months §§§ 53.2% 67.6% 44.0%
Community pain treatment received last 3 months 23.6% 24.6% 23.0%
Community mental health treatment 3 months 15.3% 16.9% 13.6%
In- patient §§§ 15.1% 28.4% 6.5%
VA treatment received last 3 months §§§ 61.8% 47.5% 71.1%
Community treatment received last 3 months §§§ 40.9% 26.2% 50.5%
  1. + OEF-OIF returnees from PNS is Polytrauma Network System; other OEF/OIF returnees from Registry.
  2. § p < 0.05§§ p < 0.01 §§§ p < 0.001 Tests between PNS and OEF/OIF groups (means, percentages).
  3. † Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (20 item) scale.