Combat veterans face more lifelong socio-economic challenges

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Washington, August 03 (ANI): A new research has found that for many U.S. veterans, combat is a defining experience that often sets the trajectory of the balance of their lives.

Alair MacLean, an assistant professor with the Department of Sociology at Washington State University (WSU) Vancouver, reports that in comparison to both non-veterans and veterans who never engaged in combat, Americans returning from combat face significant socio-economic challenges, as evidenced by consistently higher rates of disability and unemployment.

"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.

The research has been published in the August 2010 issue of the American Sociological Review (ASR). (ANI)

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