November 11, 2011

For Many Injured Veterans, a Lifetime of Consequences

54 and 47

More than half of veterans (54%) who suffered major service-related injuries said they had difficulties readjusting to civilian life and 47% reported suffering from post-traumatic stress.

One out of every ten veterans alive today was seriously injured at some point while serving in the military, and three-quarters of those injuries occurred in combat. For many of these 2.2 million wounded warriors, the physical and emotional consequences of their wounds have endured long after they left the military, according to a Pew Research Center survey of a nationally representative sample of 1,853 veterans conducted from July 18 to Sept. 4, 2011.

More than half (54%) of veterans who suffered major service-related injuries said they had difficulties readjusting to civilian life, making them more than twice as likely as their more fortunate comrades to confront that problem. Almost half (47%) said they had suffered from post-traumatic stress, which is nearly three times more than veterans who had not had serious injuries.

About a third (33%) of all injured veterans served during the Vietnam era (1964-73). In comparison, 18% have served in the post-9/11 era, about the same as the share of surviving veterans of World War II and Korean War. About a quarter (26%) served between 1974 and Sept. 11, 2001, a period that includes the 1990-91 Gulf War. Read More