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Research Questions

  1. To what extent are project goals being met?

Abstract

The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) has developed programs to help care for injured service members and veterans. In order to assess the mental, physical, and economic health of its member population, as well as to gain an understanding of WWP participation, WWP is engaged in a five-year survey effort. The RAND Corporation was asked to analyze the first three survey waves in order to take a more in-depth look at survey responses to explore whether outcomes differ across various subsets of WWP's database of members and, where possible, compare the experiences and outcomes of alumni with those of other ill and injured populations. This report describes specifically how WWP alumni who responded to the surveys are faring in domains related to mental health and resiliency, physical health, and employment and finances. The study finds that WWP goals are being met across a wide range of outcomes of interest but that individuals who have never been married, who are male, who are employed, and who are in higher ranks enjoy better mental health outcomes. On the other hand, women and those in junior ranks report more favorably on their physical health. Finally, married respondents and officers are more likely to have higher levels of education, be employed, and own homes. These outcomes enable WWP to target its programming and messaging to the alumni in need of support in these areas.

Key Findings

Project Goals Are Generally Being Met

  • Project goals are being met across a wide range of outcomes of interest, but some populations fare better than others in some domains.
  • Those who have never been married, men, those who are employed, and those in higher ranks have better reported mental health outcomes.
  • Women and those in junior ranks have better reported physical outcomes.
  • Married respondents and officers are more likely to have higher levels of education, be employed, and own homes.

Recommendations

  • The project should use different scales to generate a better measure of alumnus challenges. Results in the report suggest that project alumni have experienced higher rates of screening positive for posttraumatic stress disorder and depression than those in other studies. These higher rates may be due in part to the fact that project alumni, by definition, have experienced service-connected disabilities.
  • The project should consider adding to its strategic objectives the eight-item Patient Health Questionnaire.
  • Further, some of the questions in the survey were derived from other instruments for the purposes of comparison with other populations and studies. Future revisions to the strategic objectives may include goals for the results of those questions.
  • The project should create programs that can benefit specific alumnus population subgroups.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction and Background

  • Chapter Two

    Survey Methodology

  • Chapter Three

    Analysis and Results

  • Chapter Four

    Comparisons with Related Studies

  • Chapter Five

    Conclusions and Discussion

  • Appendix

    Alternative Specifications of Wounded Warrior Project Goals

This research was conducted within the Forces and Resources Policy Center of the RAND National Security Research Division (NSRD). NSRD conducts research and analysis on defense and national security topics for the U.S. and allied defense, foreign policy, homeland security, and intelligence communities and foundations and other nongovernmental organizations that support defense and national security analysis.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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