TVMI: LINKING PROGRAM COMPONENTS TO POST-MILITARY WELL-BEING
Many veterans who leave military service each year thrive when they return to civilian life. However, a subset of veterans fail to successfully transition from military service, encountering family strife, unemployment, poverty, substance abuse, and homelessness as well as other readjustment challenges. Tens of thousands of transition assistance programs are offered by the public and private sectors in an effort to promote veteran well-being and to avoid the potentially negative outcomes associated with poor transition to civilian life. Yet no evidence-based methods exist to determine the actual impacts (if any) of these programs on veterans’ long-term well-being outcomes.
ABOUT THE TVMI STUDY
The Veterans Metrics Initiative: Linking Program Components to Post-Military Well-Being study (TVMI Study) is the first known research effort to longitudinally examine post-9/11 veterans’ transition and reintegration experiences, while simultaneously assessing outcomes impacted by specific components of transition assistance programs used. The study is administratively led by the HJF, and scientifically directed by a multi-disciplinary team of qualified researchers from industry, academia, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The TVMI Study, launched in April 2015, is a longitudinal research study that has the following three aims:
- Document veteran well-being in four key domains – (mental and physical health, vocation, finances, and social relationships) – over the first three years of the transition from military service to civilian life. Identify factors associated with better and worse well-being.
- Describe transition assistance programs used by veterans as they reintegrate into civilian life and distill them into their components, identifying common components across programs.
- Identify program components that are associated with changes in well-being following separation from military service.
The TVMI Study follows a cohort of veterans over the first three years of their transition from military to civilian life. Six comprehensive surveys are being administered at six month intervals (Waves 1-6) over the course of the three year period. Each survey assessment is recording participant well-being across four domains: health (mental and physical), vocation (education and career), finances, and social relationships. Participants also identify transition assistance programs they used, if any. Following each assessment, the research team is identifying changes in well-being across various demographic groups, analyzing transition assistance programs identified to distill them into their common components, and examining links between common program components used and well-being outcomes.
In addition to the generation of important scientific knowledge, the TVMI Study will ultimately produce:
- A validated multidimensional tool for assessing key components of well-being (Well-Being Inventory)
- A menu of common program components shown by the evidence to drive successful veteran outcomes across multiple well-being domains
- A public-use dataset that can be used by others to better understand veteran well-being and program use along the transition continuum
The public benefit of the TVMI Study is to help funders, program developers, and veterans and their families identify programs that effectively address the needs of individual veterans.
For example, the TVMI Study will provide a veteran seeking help with social relationships criteria on which to choose one program over another. A funder will be able to support programs that are built with components that the evidence shows will work to achieve the goals that are important to the funder (e.g., improving veterans' health or vocation). Program developers will have information that will guide their energies in putting together effective services to offer to transitioning veterans. Society will benefit by having well-integrated veterans in our communities.
In the fall of 2016, a cohort of 9,566 veterans was successfully recruited from a representative sample of nearly 50,000 transitioning veterans who were identified in the VA/DoD Identity Repository when they were within 0-90 days of separating from military service. The TVMI Study cohort is highly representative of the entire recently transitioned population of all veterans (with over 1,500 veterans from each of the active components (Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps), and more than 1,200 reserve component members who recently transitioned from activated status). Included in the study cohort that completed the baseline survey (Wave 1) are 1,743 female and 2,703 junior enlisted (i.e., paygrade E1-4) veterans. To date, two follow-on surveys have been successfully administered. Wave 2 of the study closed June 24, 2017, and Wave 3 closed December 17, 2017. Military and demographic characteristics are summarized in the table below:
- Issue 6 - Snapshot of Program Non-Use in Wave 1
- Issue 5 - Wave 1 Education Snapshot
- Issue 4 - Transition GPS Program Use Snapshot
- Issue 3 - Wave 1 Employment Snapshot
- Issue 2 - Cohort Demographics and Preliminary Findings: February 2017 Update
- Issue 1 - Preliminary Findings: October 2016 Update