Document Type

Capstone Experience

Graduation Date


Degree Name

Master of Public Health



First Committee Member

Patrick Maloney

Second Committee Member

Nicole Kolm-Valdivia

Third Committee Member

Anthony Blake


Objective. To determine the association between veteran status and perceived mental health in US adults.

Methods. 2022 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System cross-sectional telephone survey data were used. Analyses were adjusted for confounding sociodemographic and health-related characteristics. Weighted multinomial logistic regression was used to determine the association between veteran status and reporting 0, 1-13, or 14+ poor mental health days.

Results. A total of 430,653 individuals were included in this analysis. Veteran status was associated with decreased odds of reporting 1-13 poor mental health days than nonveterans (OR=0.81; 95% CI 0.77, 0.86) but greater odds of reporting 14+ poor mental health days (OR=1.23; 95% CI=1.15, 1.33). Sex, age, marital status, race/ethnicity, education, annual income, health insurance, rurality, BMI, and poor physical health days were significantly associated with the number of poor mental health days.

Conclusions. Veterans are more likely to suffer from frequent mental distress than nonveterans when sociodemographic and health-related characteristics are considered. These findings expand the complex relationship between veteran status and mental health diagnoses by providing evidence that veterans also perceive their mental health as poor.

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