Category: Military and Veterans Affairs; Clinical Practice (assessment, diagnosis, treatment, knowledge translation/EBP, implementation science, program development)
To investigate mediating mechanisms underlying the relationship between Veterans' participation and wellbeing. We hypothesized that social support, coping ability, and meaningful activity would mediate the relationship between participation and two indicators of wellbeing: psychological (meaning in life) and subjective (life satisfaction) wellbeing.
Survey. We used path analysis to obtain indirect effects of participation upon both indicators of wellbeing, through the proposed mediators.
Setting : Community.
Participants (or Animals, Specimens, Cadavers) :
Convenience sample of 389 Veterans enrolled in college. 5106 invitations sent; 525 surveys completed. 136 non-Veterans were excluded.
Interventions : Not applicable.
Main Outcome Measure(s) :
Valid and reliable measures of participation (social and community participation), mediators (social support; coping ability; meaningful activity), and wellbeing (meaning in life; life satisfaction). We controlled for age, gender, marital status, and measures of service-related health conditions (posttraumatic stress disorder; depression; somatic symptoms; mild traumatic brain injury).
Indirect effects partially supported hypotheses. The relationship between participation and life meaning was mediated by coping ability (b=0.50, p=.024, 95% CI=0.01, 0.08) and meaningful activity (b=0.16, p<.001, 95% CI=0.09, 0.23). The relationship between participation and life satisfaction was mediated by social support (b=0.05, p=.006, 95% CI=0.01, 0.09) and meaningful activity (b=0.14, p<.001, 95% CI=0.08, 0.20).
In a sample of community-based Veterans, more frequent participation predicted greater meaningfulness of daily activity, in turn predicting greater life meaning and life satisfaction. More frequent participation also predicted greater coping ability and social support, in turn predicting greater life meaning and life satisfaction, respectively. Findings persisted while controlling for service-related health conditions. Additional study is needed to establish causality and sensitivity to modification, eventually informing treatment theories for interdisciplinary intervention targeting wellbeing among Veterans with service-related health conditions.
Adam Kinney– Postdoctoral Fellow, Rocky Mountain MIRECC, Colorado
Aaron Eakman– Associate Professor, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado
James Graham– Director, Center for Community Partnerships; Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado