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Health Spillovers among Military Spouses: Evidence from Active Duty, Veteran, and Surviving Spouses

Author:

Jason Schnittker

University of Pennsylvania, US
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Abstract

Using three subsamples from the 2010 National Survey of Veterans (Westat 2010), this study explores health spillovers—the effects of the experience of one person on the health of another—from service personnel to their spouses. Regression models point to broad and substantial spillovers, occurring over multiple stages of a military career. The spouses of active duty personnel report worse health relative to those living with a veteran, and this difference in health is comparable to the well-established effect of widowhood on health. In addition, the health of military spouses declines when their spouses suffer from service-connected disabilities. There is no evidence that the widowhood effect is larger when the death is service-connected, nor is there evidence that caring for a disabled spouse is more detrimental when it happens at younger ages, a common situation among military spouses. Nonetheless, the health of military spouses is impacted by an assortment of spillovers related indirectly and directly to military service, and occurring both among those married to active personnel and those married to veterans.

How to Cite: Schnittker, J., 2019. Health Spillovers among Military Spouses: Evidence from Active Duty, Veteran, and Surviving Spouses. Journal of Veterans Studies, 4(2), pp.64–77. DOI: http://doi.org/10.21061/jvs.v4i2.83
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Published on 16 Apr 2019.
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