Based on new research in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, homelessness among US military veterans hardly ever occurs instantly after the military discharge, but instead takes years to manifest with risk increasing over subsequent years.
The research reveals that this sleeper effect delay is evident among veterans who served before the Persian Gulf War period, as well as more recent groups from the post-9/11 conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Dr. Tsai is a research director for the US Department of Veterans Affairs, National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans, Tampa, Florida, USA. He is associated with the School of Public Health and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, San Antonio.
Data from two nationally representative samples had been analyzed, along with the data of 275,775 homeless veterans who used the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) companies from 2000-2019, as well as a 2018 population-based group survey of 115 veterans with a history of homelessness.
The period between release and homelessness was noted to be 5.5 years in the VA sample and 9.9 years in the survey pattern.
Significant components associated with longer discharge-to-homelessness intervals include service in the Vietnam War, younger age at military discharge, revenue, and chronic medical and psychiatric conditions.
The findings suggest that several medical and psychiatric conditions take time to develop and don’t quickly result in homelessness but comply with an extra chronic course that, if untreated, can eventually result in homelessness.