Long-term outcomes of disability benefits in US veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder

Maureen Murdoch, Nina A. Sayer, Michele R. Spoont, Robert Rosenheck, Siamak Noorbaloochi, Joan Griffin, Paul A. Arbisi, Emily M. Hagel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Context: Most studies examining the clinical impact of disability benefits have compared aid recipients with people who never applied for benefits. Such practices may bias findings against recipients because disability applicants tend to be much sicker than never-applicants. Furthermore, these studies ignore the outcomes of denied claimants. Objective: To examine long-term outcomes associated with receiving or not receiving Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability benefits for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the most common mental disorder for which veterans seek such benefits. Design: Comparison of outcomes between successful and unsuccessful applicants for VA disability payments. Because we could not randomize the receipt of benefits, we used exact matching by propensity scores to control for potential baseline differences. We examined clinical outcomes approximately 10 years later. Setting and Participants: Stratified, nationally representative cohort of 3337 veterans who applied for VA PTSD disability benefits between January 1, 1994, and December 31, 1998. Main Outcome Measures: Assessment on validated survey measures of PTSD; work, role, social, and physical functioning; employment; and poverty. We compared outcomes with earlier scores. Homelessness and mortality were assessed using administrative data. Results: Of still-living cohort members, 85.1% returned usable surveys. Symptoms of PTSD were elevated in both groups. After adjustment, awardees had more severe PTSD symptoms than denied claimants but were nonetheless more likely to have had a meaningful symptom reduction since their last assessment (-6.1 vs -4.4; SE, 0.1; P=.01). Both groups had meaningful improvements of similar magnitude in work, role, and social functioning (-0.15 vs -0.19; SE, 0.01; P=.94), but functioning remained poor nonetheless. Comparing awardees with denied claimants after adjustment, 13.2% vs 19.0% were employed (P=.11); 15.2% vs 44.8% reported poverty (P<.001); 12.0% vs 20.0% had been homeless (P=.02); and 10.4% vs 9.7% had died (P=.66). Conclusions: Regardless of claim outcome, veterans who apply for PTSD disability benefits are highly impaired. However, receiving PTSD benefits was associated with clinically meaningful reductions in PTSD symptoms and less poverty and homelessness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1072-1080
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of General Psychiatry
Volume68
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Veterans
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders
Poverty
Social Adjustment
Homeless Persons
Outcome Assessment (Health Care)
Propensity Score
Mental Disorders
Mortality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

Murdoch, M., Sayer, N. A., Spoont, M. R., Rosenheck, R., Noorbaloochi, S., Griffin, J., ... Hagel, E. M. (2011). Long-term outcomes of disability benefits in US veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder. Archives of General Psychiatry, 68(10), 1072-1080. https://doi.org/10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.105

Long-term outcomes of disability benefits in US veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder. / Murdoch, Maureen; Sayer, Nina A.; Spoont, Michele R.; Rosenheck, Robert; Noorbaloochi, Siamak; Griffin, Joan; Arbisi, Paul A.; Hagel, Emily M.

In: Archives of General Psychiatry, Vol. 68, No. 10, 10.2011, p. 1072-1080.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Murdoch, M, Sayer, NA, Spoont, MR, Rosenheck, R, Noorbaloochi, S, Griffin, J, Arbisi, PA & Hagel, EM 2011, 'Long-term outcomes of disability benefits in US veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder', Archives of General Psychiatry, vol. 68, no. 10, pp. 1072-1080. https://doi.org/10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.105
Murdoch, Maureen ; Sayer, Nina A. ; Spoont, Michele R. ; Rosenheck, Robert ; Noorbaloochi, Siamak ; Griffin, Joan ; Arbisi, Paul A. ; Hagel, Emily M. / Long-term outcomes of disability benefits in US veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder. In: Archives of General Psychiatry. 2011 ; Vol. 68, No. 10. pp. 1072-1080.
@article{6a9d25f1f411430badc4ed2068f0e40e,
title = "Long-term outcomes of disability benefits in US veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder",
abstract = "Context: Most studies examining the clinical impact of disability benefits have compared aid recipients with people who never applied for benefits. Such practices may bias findings against recipients because disability applicants tend to be much sicker than never-applicants. Furthermore, these studies ignore the outcomes of denied claimants. Objective: To examine long-term outcomes associated with receiving or not receiving Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability benefits for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the most common mental disorder for which veterans seek such benefits. Design: Comparison of outcomes between successful and unsuccessful applicants for VA disability payments. Because we could not randomize the receipt of benefits, we used exact matching by propensity scores to control for potential baseline differences. We examined clinical outcomes approximately 10 years later. Setting and Participants: Stratified, nationally representative cohort of 3337 veterans who applied for VA PTSD disability benefits between January 1, 1994, and December 31, 1998. Main Outcome Measures: Assessment on validated survey measures of PTSD; work, role, social, and physical functioning; employment; and poverty. We compared outcomes with earlier scores. Homelessness and mortality were assessed using administrative data. Results: Of still-living cohort members, 85.1{\%} returned usable surveys. Symptoms of PTSD were elevated in both groups. After adjustment, awardees had more severe PTSD symptoms than denied claimants but were nonetheless more likely to have had a meaningful symptom reduction since their last assessment (-6.1 vs -4.4; SE, 0.1; P=.01). Both groups had meaningful improvements of similar magnitude in work, role, and social functioning (-0.15 vs -0.19; SE, 0.01; P=.94), but functioning remained poor nonetheless. Comparing awardees with denied claimants after adjustment, 13.2{\%} vs 19.0{\%} were employed (P=.11); 15.2{\%} vs 44.8{\%} reported poverty (P<.001); 12.0{\%} vs 20.0{\%} had been homeless (P=.02); and 10.4{\%} vs 9.7{\%} had died (P=.66). Conclusions: Regardless of claim outcome, veterans who apply for PTSD disability benefits are highly impaired. However, receiving PTSD benefits was associated with clinically meaningful reductions in PTSD symptoms and less poverty and homelessness.",
author = "Maureen Murdoch and Sayer, {Nina A.} and Spoont, {Michele R.} and Robert Rosenheck and Siamak Noorbaloochi and Joan Griffin and Arbisi, {Paul A.} and Hagel, {Emily M.}",
year = "2011",
month = "10",
doi = "10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.105",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "68",
pages = "1072--1080",
journal = "JAMA Psychiatry",
issn = "2168-622X",
publisher = "American Medical Association",
number = "10",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Long-term outcomes of disability benefits in US veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder

AU - Murdoch, Maureen

AU - Sayer, Nina A.

AU - Spoont, Michele R.

AU - Rosenheck, Robert

AU - Noorbaloochi, Siamak

AU - Griffin, Joan

AU - Arbisi, Paul A.

AU - Hagel, Emily M.

PY - 2011/10

Y1 - 2011/10

N2 - Context: Most studies examining the clinical impact of disability benefits have compared aid recipients with people who never applied for benefits. Such practices may bias findings against recipients because disability applicants tend to be much sicker than never-applicants. Furthermore, these studies ignore the outcomes of denied claimants. Objective: To examine long-term outcomes associated with receiving or not receiving Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability benefits for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the most common mental disorder for which veterans seek such benefits. Design: Comparison of outcomes between successful and unsuccessful applicants for VA disability payments. Because we could not randomize the receipt of benefits, we used exact matching by propensity scores to control for potential baseline differences. We examined clinical outcomes approximately 10 years later. Setting and Participants: Stratified, nationally representative cohort of 3337 veterans who applied for VA PTSD disability benefits between January 1, 1994, and December 31, 1998. Main Outcome Measures: Assessment on validated survey measures of PTSD; work, role, social, and physical functioning; employment; and poverty. We compared outcomes with earlier scores. Homelessness and mortality were assessed using administrative data. Results: Of still-living cohort members, 85.1% returned usable surveys. Symptoms of PTSD were elevated in both groups. After adjustment, awardees had more severe PTSD symptoms than denied claimants but were nonetheless more likely to have had a meaningful symptom reduction since their last assessment (-6.1 vs -4.4; SE, 0.1; P=.01). Both groups had meaningful improvements of similar magnitude in work, role, and social functioning (-0.15 vs -0.19; SE, 0.01; P=.94), but functioning remained poor nonetheless. Comparing awardees with denied claimants after adjustment, 13.2% vs 19.0% were employed (P=.11); 15.2% vs 44.8% reported poverty (P<.001); 12.0% vs 20.0% had been homeless (P=.02); and 10.4% vs 9.7% had died (P=.66). Conclusions: Regardless of claim outcome, veterans who apply for PTSD disability benefits are highly impaired. However, receiving PTSD benefits was associated with clinically meaningful reductions in PTSD symptoms and less poverty and homelessness.

AB - Context: Most studies examining the clinical impact of disability benefits have compared aid recipients with people who never applied for benefits. Such practices may bias findings against recipients because disability applicants tend to be much sicker than never-applicants. Furthermore, these studies ignore the outcomes of denied claimants. Objective: To examine long-term outcomes associated with receiving or not receiving Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability benefits for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the most common mental disorder for which veterans seek such benefits. Design: Comparison of outcomes between successful and unsuccessful applicants for VA disability payments. Because we could not randomize the receipt of benefits, we used exact matching by propensity scores to control for potential baseline differences. We examined clinical outcomes approximately 10 years later. Setting and Participants: Stratified, nationally representative cohort of 3337 veterans who applied for VA PTSD disability benefits between January 1, 1994, and December 31, 1998. Main Outcome Measures: Assessment on validated survey measures of PTSD; work, role, social, and physical functioning; employment; and poverty. We compared outcomes with earlier scores. Homelessness and mortality were assessed using administrative data. Results: Of still-living cohort members, 85.1% returned usable surveys. Symptoms of PTSD were elevated in both groups. After adjustment, awardees had more severe PTSD symptoms than denied claimants but were nonetheless more likely to have had a meaningful symptom reduction since their last assessment (-6.1 vs -4.4; SE, 0.1; P=.01). Both groups had meaningful improvements of similar magnitude in work, role, and social functioning (-0.15 vs -0.19; SE, 0.01; P=.94), but functioning remained poor nonetheless. Comparing awardees with denied claimants after adjustment, 13.2% vs 19.0% were employed (P=.11); 15.2% vs 44.8% reported poverty (P<.001); 12.0% vs 20.0% had been homeless (P=.02); and 10.4% vs 9.7% had died (P=.66). Conclusions: Regardless of claim outcome, veterans who apply for PTSD disability benefits are highly impaired. However, receiving PTSD benefits was associated with clinically meaningful reductions in PTSD symptoms and less poverty and homelessness.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=80053470037&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=80053470037&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.105

DO - 10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.105

M3 - Article

VL - 68

SP - 1072

EP - 1080

JO - JAMA Psychiatry

JF - JAMA Psychiatry

SN - 2168-622X

IS - 10

ER -