Aging Veterans: Needs and Provisions

  • Janet M. Wilmoth
  • Andrew S. London
Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)


Current knowledge about aging is primarily based on cohorts that were born during the early part of the twentieth century. A substantial percentage of men in these cohorts, and subsequent cohorts who are currently middle aged, served in the military during war, peace, Cold War, or some combination thereof. Consequently, veterans are a sizeable demographic group in the United States. In 2000, over 26 million Americans were veterans, representing approximately 12.7% of those aged 18 years or older (U.S. Census Bureau 2003). Military service is particularly prevalent among older cohorts who served in World War II (WWII) and the Korean War (Hogan 1981); almost 9.2 million men age 65 years and older were veterans in 2000, which represents 64% of men in this age group (Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics 2008). In addition, participation in the military has increased substantially among women; in 2000, nearly 1.6 million American women were veterans (U.S. Census Bureau 2003).


Veteran Affair Military Service Woman Veteran Female Veteran Veteran Affair Health Care 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Allsup, Carl. 1982. The American G.I. Forum: Origins and Evolution. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
  2. Angrist, Joshua D. 1990. “Lifetime Earnings and the Vietnam Era Draft Lottery: Evidence from Social Security Administrative Records.” American Economic Review 80:313–36.Google Scholar
  3. Angrist Joshua D., and Alan B. Krueger. 1994. “Why Do World War II (WWII) Veterans Earn More than Nonveterans?” Journal of Labor Economics 12:74–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Angrist, Joshua D. 1998. “Estimating the labor market impact of voluntary military service using social security data on military applicants.” Econometrica 66(2):249–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bedard, Kelly and Oliver Deschênes. 2006. “The Long-Term Impact of Military Service on Health: Evidence from World War II (WWII) and Korean War Veterans.” American Economic Review 96:176–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bice-Stephans, W. M. and M. Wynona. 2000. “Radiation Injuries from Military and Accidental Explosions: A Brief Historical Review.” Military Medicine 165(4):275–7.Google Scholar
  7. Bound, John and Sarah Turner. 2002. “Going to War and Going to College: Did World War II (WWII) and the G.I. Bill Increase Educational Attainment for Returning Veterans?” Journal of Labor Economics 20:784–815.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brooks, Matthew S., Sarah B. Laditka, and James N. Laditka. 2008a. “Long-Term Effects of Military Service on Mental Health Among Veterans of the Vietnam War.” Military Medicine 173:570–5.Google Scholar
  9. —  —  —. 2008b. “Evidence of Greater Health Care Needs among Veterans of the Vietnam War.” Military Medicine 173:715–20.Google Scholar
  10. Clipp, Elizabeth Colerick and Glen H. Elder, Jr. 1996. “The Aging Veteran of World War II (WWII): Psychiatric and Life Course Insights.” Pp. 19–51 in Aging and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, edited by P. E. Ruskin and J. A. Talbott. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press.Google Scholar
  11. Cohany, Sharon R. 1990. “Employment and Unemployment among Vietnam-Era Veterans.” Monthly Labor Review 113(4):22–9.Google Scholar
  12. Cohen, Jere, David R. Segal, and Lloyd V. Temme. 1986. “Military Service was an Educational Disadvantage to Vietnam-Era Personnel.” Sociology and Social Research 70 (April):206–8.Google Scholar
  13. Cotton, Shelia, Katherine Skinner, and Lisa Sullivan. 2000. “Social Support among Women Veterans.” Journal of Women and Aging 12:39–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dechter Aimée R., and Glen H. Elder Jr. 2004. “World War II (WWII) Mobilization in Men’s Work Lives: Continuity or Disruption for the Middle Class? American Journal of Sociology 110(3):761–93.Google Scholar
  15. Elder, Glen H., Jr. 1986. “Military Times and Turning Points in Men’s Lives.” Developmental Psychology 22(2):233–45.Google Scholar
  16. —  —  —. 1987. “War Mobilization and the Life Course: A Cohort of World War II (WWII) Veterans.” Sociological Forum 2(3):449–72.Google Scholar
  17. Elder, Glen H., Jr., and Susan L. Bailey. 1988. “The Timing of Military Service in Men’s Lives. Pp. 157–74 in Social Stress and Family Development, edited by J. Aldous and D. M. Klein. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  18. Elder, Glen H. Jr. and Elizabeth C. Clipp. 1988. “Wartime Losses and Social Bonding: Influences Across 40 Years in Men’s Lives.” Psychiatry 51:177–98.Google Scholar
  19. —  —  —. 1989. “Combat Experience and Emotional Health: Impairment and Resilience in Later Life.” Journal of Personality 57(2):311–41.Google Scholar
  20. Elder, Glen H., Jr., Cynthia Gimbel, and Rachel Ivie. 1991. “Turning Points in Life: The Case of Military Service and War.” Military Psychology 3(4):215–31.Google Scholar
  21. Elder, Glen H., Jr., Michael J. Shanahan, and Elizabeth C. Clipp. 1994. “When War Comes To Men’s Lives: Life-Course Patterns in Family, Work, and Health.” Psychology and Aging 9(1):5–16.Google Scholar
  22. —  —  —. 1997. “Linking Combat and Physical Health: The Legacy of World War II (WWII) in Men’s Lives.” American Journal of Psychiatry 154:330–6.Google Scholar
  23. Elder, Glen H., Jr., and Monica Kirkpatrick Johnson. 2002. “The Life Course and Aging: Challenges, Lessons, and New Directions.” Pp. 49–81 in Invitation to the Life course: Toward New Understandings of Later Life, edited by R. A. Settersten, Jr. Amityville, NY: Baywood.Google Scholar
  24. Ferraro, Kenneth F., Tetyana Pylypiv Shippee, and Markus H. Schafer. 2009. “Cumulative Inequality Theory for Research on Aging and the Life Course.” Pp. 413–343 in Handbook of Theories of Aging, 2nd ed., edited by V. L. Bengtson, D. Gans, N. M. Putney, and M. Silverstein. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  25. Fortney, John C., Matthew L. Maciejewski, James J. Warren, and James F. Burgess, Jr. 2005. “Does Improving Geographic Access to VA Primary Care Services Impact Patients’ Patterns of Utilization and Costs?” Inquiry 42:29–42.Google Scholar
  26. Frayne, Susan M., V.A. Parker, C.L. Christiansen, S. Loveland, M.R. Seaver, L.E. Kazis, and K.M. Skinner. 2006. “Health Status among 28,000 Women Veterans. The VA Women’s Health Program Evaluation Project.” Journal of General Internal Medicine 21(3):S40–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Frayne, Susan M., Wei Yi, Elizabeth Yano, Lakshmi Ananth, Samina Iqbal, Ann Thraikill, and Ciaran Phibb. 2007. “Gender and Use of Care: Planning for Tomorrow’s Veterans Health Administration.” Journal of Women’s Health 16(8):1188–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Frey-Wouters, Ellen and Robert S. Laufer. 1986. Legacy of a War: The American Soldier in Vietnam. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, Inc.Google Scholar
  29. Gatnache, Gail, Robert A. Rosenheck, and Richard Tessler. 2000. “Factors Predicting Choice of Provider among Homeless Veterans with Mental Illness.” Psychiatric Services 51(8):1024–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Giele, Janet Z. and Glen H. Elder, Jr., eds. 1998. Methods of Life Course Research: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  31. Gimbel, Cynthia, and Alan Booth. 1994. “Why Does Military Combat Experience Adversely Affect Marital Relations?” Journal of Marriage and the Family 56:691–703.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. —  —  —. 1996. “Who Fought in Vietnam?” Social Forces 74:1137–57.Google Scholar
  33. Hogan, Dennis P. 1981. Transitions and Social Change: The Early Lives of American Men. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  34. Hwang, Shirley, Victor T. Change, Janet Cogswell, Yvette Alejandro, Pamela Osenesko, Erma Morales, Shanti Crinivas, and Basil Kasimis. 2004. “Study of Unmet Needs in Symptomatic Veterans with Advanced Cancer: Incidence, Independent Predictors, and Unmet Needs Outcome Model.” Journal of Pain and Symptom Management 28(3):421–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics. 2008. Older Americans 2008: Key Indicators of Well-being, Population Indicator 5. Retrieved (; last accessed on October 27, 2009).
  36. Kang, Han K. and Kenneth C. Hyams. 2005. “Mental Health Care Needs among Recent War Veterans.” The New England Journal of Medicine 352(13):1289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kasprow, Wesley J., Robert A. Rosenheck, and Linda Frisnan. 2000. “Referral and Housing Processes in a Long-Term Supported Housing Program for Homeless Veterans.” Psychiatric Services 51(8):1017–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Kleykamp, Meredith. 2009. “Where did the Soldiers Go? The Effects of Military Downsizing on College Enrollment and Employment.” Social Science Research 39(3):477–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kessler, Ronald C., Amanda Sonnega, Evelyn Bromet, Michael Hughes, and Christopher Nelson. 1995. “Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in the National Comorbidity Survey.” Archives of General Psychiatry 52(12):1048–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Kulka, Richard A., William E. Schlenger, John A. Fairbank, Richard L. Hough, B. Kathleen Jordan, Charles R. Marmar, David S. Weiss, and David A. Grady. 1990. Trauma and the Vietnam War Generation. New York: Brunner/Mazel.Google Scholar
  41. London Andrew S., and Janet M. Wilmoth. 2006. “Military Service and (Dis)Continuity in the Life Course: Evidence on Disadvantage and Mortality from the HRS and AHEAD.” Research on Aging 28(1):135–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Lundquist, Jennifer Hickes. 2004. “When Race Makes No Difference: Marriage and the Military.” Social Forces 83(2):731–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. —  —  —. 2006. “The Black-White Gap in Marital Dissolution among Young Adults: What Can a Counterfactual Scenario Tell Us?” Social Problems 53(3):421–41.Google Scholar
  44. Lundquist, Jennifer Hickes, and Herbert L. Smith 2005. “Family Formation among Women in the U.S. Military: Evidence from the NLSY.” Journal of Marriage and Family 67(1):1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Lutz, Amy C. 2008. “Who Joins the Military? A Look at Race, Class, and Immigrant Status. Journal of Political and Military Sociology 36:167–88.Google Scholar
  46. MacGregor, Morris, J. Jr. 1981. Integration of the Armed Forces: 1940–1965. Washington, DC: Center of Military History, United States Army.Google Scholar
  47. MacLean Alair, and Glen H. Elder Jr 2007. “Military Service in the Life Course.” Annual Review of Sociology 33:175–96.Google Scholar
  48. Manning, Lori. 2005. Women in the Military: Where They Stand, 5th ed. Washington, DC: Women’s Research and Education Institute.Google Scholar
  49. McGuire, James. 2007. “Closing a Front Door to Homelessness among Veterans.” Journal of Primary Prevention 28:389–400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Mettler, Suzanne. 2005. Soldiers to Citizens: The G.I. Bill and the Making of the Greatest Generation. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  51. MacLean, Alair. 2005. “Lessons from the Cold War: Military service and college education.” Sociology of Education 78(3):250–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Modell, John and Timothy Haggerty. 1991. “The Social Impact of War.” Annual Review of Sociology 17:205–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Moskos, Charles C. and John Sibley Butler. 1996. All That We Can Be: Black Leadership and Racial Integration the Army Way. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  54. O’Connell, Maria, Wesley Kasprow, and Robert A. Rosenheck. 2008. “Rates and Risk Factors for Homelessness after Successful Housing in a Sample of Formerly Homeless Veterans.” Psychiatric Services 59(3):268–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Parker, Wendy M., Janet M. Wilmoth, and Andrew S. London. 2009. “Does Military Service Offset the Effect of Childhood SES Disadvantage on Men’s Later Life Physical Functioning?” Presented at the Gerontological Association of America, Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA.Google Scholar
  56. Pavalko, Eliza K. and Glen H. Elder, Jr. 1990. “World War II (WWII) and Divorce: A Life Course Perspective.” American Journal of Sociology 95(5):1213–34.Google Scholar
  57. Pavuk, M, J.E. Michalek, A. Schecter, N.S. Ketchum, F.Z. Akhtar, and K.A. Fox. 2006. “Did TCDD exposure or service in southeast Asia increase the risk of cancer in air force Vietnam veterans who did not spray agent orange?” Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 27(4):335–343.Google Scholar
  58. Rivas-Rodriguez, Maggie, ed. 2005. Mexican Americans and World War II (WWII). Austin: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
  59. Ritchie, Christine, Darryl Weiland, Chris Tully, Joseph Rose, Richard Sims, and Eric Bodner. 2002. “Coordination and Advocacy for Rural Elders (CARE)” A Model for Rural Case Management with Veterans.” The Gerontologist 42(3):299–305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Rosenheck, Robert A. and Alvin S. Mares. 2007. “Implementation of Supported Employment for Homeless Veterans with Psychiatric or Addition Disordered: Two-Year Outcomes.” Psychiatric Services 58(3):325–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Schinka, John A. Elie Francis, Patrick Hughes, Leif LaLone, and Christopher Flynn. 1998. “Comparative Outcomes and Costs of Impatient Care and Supportive Housing for Substance-Dependent Veterans.” Psychiatric Services 49(7):946–50.Google Scholar
  62. Silverstein, Nina M. and Jennifer L. Moorhead. 2001. “Responding to Social Service and Health Care Needs of Aging Women Veterans.” Journal of Women and Aging 13(2):39–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Segal, David R. and Mady W. Segal. 2004. “America’s Military Population.” Population Bulletin 59(4).Google Scholar
  64. Selim, Alfredo J., Graeme Fincke, Dan R. Berlowitz, Donald R. Miller, Shirley X. Qian, Austin Lee, Zhongxiao Cong, William Rogers, Bernardo J. Selim, Xinhua S. Ren, Avron Spiro III, and Lewis E. Kazis 2005. “Comprehensive Health Status Assessment of Centenarians: Results from the 1999 Large Health Survey of Veteran Enrollees.” Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences 60A(4):515–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Settersten, Richard A., Jr. 2006. “When Nations Call: How Wartime Military Service Matters for the Life Course and Aging.” Research on Aging 28:12–36.Google Scholar
  66. Settersten, Richard A., Jr., and Robin S. Patterson. 2007. “Military Service, the Life Course, and Aging: An Introduction.” Research on Aging 28:5–11.Google Scholar
  67. Sher, Leo 2009. “A Model of Suicidal Behavior in War Veterans with Posttraumatic Mood Disorder.” Medical Hypotheses 73:215–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Skinner, Katherine and J. Furey. 1998. “The Focus on Women Veterans Who Use Veterans Administration Health Care: The Veterans Administration Women’s Health Project.” Military Medicine 163 (11) (November): 761–766.Google Scholar
  69. Skinner, Katherine, Lisa M. Sullivan, Rara J. Tripp, Nancy, R. Kressin, Donald R. Miller, Lewis Kasis, and Virginia Casey. 1999. “Comparing the Health Status of Male and Female Veterans Who Use VA Health Care: Results of from the VA Women’s Health Project.” Women and Health 29(4):17–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Suris, Alina and Lisa Lind. 2008. “Military sexual trauma - A review of prevalence and associated health consequences in veterans.” Trauma, Violence, and Abuse 9(4):250–2699.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Teachman, Jay D. 2004. “Military Service During the Vietnam Era: Were There Consequences for Subsequent Civilian Earnings?” Social Forces 83:709–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. —  —  —. 2005. “Military Service in the Vietnam Era and Educational Attainment.” Sociology of Education 78:50–68.Google Scholar
  73. —  —  —. 2007. “Race, Military Service, and Marital Timing: Evidence from the NLSY-79.” Demography 44(2):389–404.Google Scholar
  74. Teachman, Jay D., and Vaughn R. A. Call. 1996. “The Effect of Military Service on Educational, Occupational, and Income Attainment.” Social Science Research 25:1–31.Google Scholar
  75. Teachman, Jay D., and Lucky M. Tedrow. 2004. “Wage, Earnings, and Occupational Status: Did World War II (WWII) Veterans Receive a Premium?” Social Science Research 33:581–605.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Teachman, Jay D., and Lucky Tedrow. 2007. “Joining up: Did military service in the early all volunteer era affect subsequent civilian income?” Social Science Research 36(4):1447–1474.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Tessler, Richard, Robert Rosenheck, and Gail Gamache. 2003. “Homeless Veterans of the Mil-Volunteer Force: A Social Selection Perspective.” Armed Forces and Society 29(4):509–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Tessler, Richard, Robert Rosenheck, and Gail Gamache. 2005. “Declining Access to Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services among Veterans in the General Population.” Military Medicine 170(3):234–8.Google Scholar
  79. Trudel, Tina M., F. Don Nidiffer, and Jeffrey T. Barth. 2007. “Community-Integrated Brain Injury Rehabilitation: Treatment Models and Challenges for Civilian, Military, and Veteran Populations.” Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development 44(4):1007–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Turner, Sarah, and John Bound. 2003. “Closing the Gap or Widening the Divide? The Effects of the G.I. Bill and World War II (WWII) on the Educational Outcomes of Black Americans.” Journal of Economic History 63:145–77.Google Scholar
  81. Turner, Carole, Susan Frayne, & Editors. 2004. “Veterans Health Initiative: Military Sexual Trauma.” TRACE Code: 03.VHI.SH&T.P.A. Independent Study Course: Released January 2004. Washington, DC: Department of Veterans Affairs.
  82. United States Census Bureau 2003. Veterans: 2000. Census 2000 Brief. Retrieved October 27, 2009 (
  83. United States Department of Veterans Affairs. 2008. Veteran Population Model, VetPop2007. Retrieved October 29, 2009 (
  84. —  —  —. 2009a. History of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved October 25, 2009 (
  85. —  —  —. 2009b. General Factsheet. Retrieved October 25, 2009 (
  86. —  —  —. 2009c. Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents, and Survivors. 2009 Edition. Retrieved October 25, 2009 (
  87. —  —  —. 2009d. Analysis of Unique Veterans Utilization of VA Benefits & Services. National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics (008A3), Office of Policy and Planning. Retrieved October 21, 2005 (
  88. Usdansky, Margaret L., Andrew S. London, and Janet M. Wilmoth. 2009. “Race, Veteran Status, and Marriage among Fragile Families.” Journal of Marriage and Family 71:768–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Washington, Donna L. 2004. “Challenges to Studying and Delivering Care to Special Populations: The Example of Female Veterans.” Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development 41(2):7–9.Google Scholar
  90. Wolfe, Jessica, Amy Stern, Jennifer Daley, Alan Zaslavsky, Shelly Forsorn Roper, and Kimberly Wilson. 2000. “Changing Demographic Characteristics of Female Veterans: Evidence from a National Sample.” Military Medicine165:773–80.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer New York 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology, Gerontology Center and Center for Policy ResearchSyracuse UniversitySyracuseUSA

Personalised recommendations