Online Program

Risk of Occupational and Non-occupational Injury among Employed Post-9/11 Veterans

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 : 10:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.

Kathleen F. Carlson, MS, PhD, School of Public Health, VA Portland Health Care System/Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR
Leslie Hammer, PhD, Occupational Psychology, Portland State University, Portland, OR
Krista Brockwood, PhD, Psychology - Liberal Arts & Sciences, Portland State University, Portland, OR
Todd Bodner, PhD, Department of Psychology, Portland State University, Portland, OR
Cynthia Mohr, PhD, Psychology, Portland State University, Portland, OR
Background: Military Veterans have unique injury risk profiles. Effects of combat deployment and other military-related risk factors are not well characterized. We examined prevalence of, and risk factors for, occupational and non-occupational injury in a sample of employed post-9/11 Veterans.

Methods: Data were collected from n=260 Veterans enrolled in a randomized, controlled trial evaluating an intervention to improve workplace support for Veterans. Participants completed an online survey including demographic-, military-, and health-related items. Injury events were those leading to ≥4 hours of restricted activity, traumatic brain injury (TBI), or receipt of healthcare; a 6-month recall window was used. We computed odds of recent injury by characteristics of interest using multivariable logistic regression. Adjusted odds ratios (aORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) controlled for age, gender, and military branch.

Results: Most participants were male (86%); mean age was 39 years. One-fifth (21%) reported recent injuries (11% incurred occupational; 14% incurred non-occupational; 3% incurred both types). Prevalence and potential risk factors for recent injury were similar by combat deployment history. However, those with high versus low combat exposure (aOR=1.5; CI=1.1-2.0) or probable deployment-related TBI (aOR=2.7; CI=1.4-5.2) had greater odds of injury. Higher versus lower levels of functional impairment (aOR=2.4; CI=1.3-4.5) and chronic pain (aOR=1.3; CI=1.2-4.1) were also associated with Veterans’ injuries.

Conclusions: A substantial proportion of employed Veterans incurred recent injuries, both occupational and non-occupational. Injuries were associated with traumatic exposures, functional impairment, and pain. Further research is needed to elucidate chronological relationships between deployment, health and functioning, and risk of injury.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate the prevalence of occupational and non-occupational injury in a working population of post-9/11 military Veterans. Identify potential risk factors for injury in a working population of post-9/11 military Veterans. Analyze prevalence and potential risk factors for injury among employed post-9/11 Veterans by history of combat deployment.

Keyword(s): Veterans' Health, Violence & Injury Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am trained in injury epidemiology, prevention, and control and have conducted research in Veterans' injury for nine years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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