This research examines excess mortality among American veterans age 70 years or older during a two-to-three year interval from 1993/94 to the end of 1995. Using a structural hazard rate model, we analyzed data on a sample of respondents age 70 or over from the Survey of Asset and Health Dynamics among the Oldest Old (AHEAD). We found that at age 70, older veterans have a slightly higher death rate than their nonveteran counterparts, implying a mortality crossover right before this age. Such excess mortality among veterans increases considerably with age, when other factors are held equal. The direct and indirect effects of veteran status on mortality by means of physical and mental health mostly perform in opposite directions, and such effects vary greatly in magnitude and direction as a function of age. The intervening effects of physical and mental health status decrease substantially with increasing age. Many of the mechanisms inherent in the excess mortality among older veterans are not captured by variations in their health status, especially among the oldest-old. A more extensive study on this topic is urgently needed.
Population Research and Policy Review – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 4, 2006
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