Mental and physical health factors related to dual use of veterans affairs and non-veterans affairs healthcare among U.S. reserve soldiers

Bonnie M. Vest, Jessica A. Kulak, D. Lynn Homish, Rachel A. Hoopsick, Gregory G. Homish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study examined the association between mental and physical health factors and dual use of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) and non-VA healthcare among previously deployed male Reserve/National Guard (R/NG) soldiers (N = 214). Participants completed online annual surveys on a range of topics, including validated measures of mental and physical health, as well as questions about past-year healthcare utilization. Multinomial logistic regression models separately examined the association between mental health symptoms (PTSD, anxiety, depression, emotional role limitations), physical health symptoms (bodily pain, physical role limitations), and healthcare use (single use and dual use compared to no use), controlling for geography, trust in the VA, age, and race. Anxiety (aRR: 1.13; 95% Confidence Interval (CI): 1.02, 1.26; p<.05), depression (aRR: 1.23; 95% CI: 1.06, 1.43; p<.01), and PTSD (aRR: 1.05; 95% CI: 1.01, 1.10; p<.05) symptoms were all related to past year dual use of VA and non-VA healthcare, even after controlling for known demographic factors. Bodily pain and emotional and physical role limitations were not related to healthcare outcomes. This suggests that mental health symptoms themselves may be a primary factor driving healthcare use. Further study is needed to examine whether dual use of VA and non-VA healthcare is duplicative or complementary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)976-986
Number of pages11
JournalPsychology, Health and Medicine
Volume27
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Healthcare utilization
  • mental health
  • physical health
  • veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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