Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

VA Health Systems Research

Go to the VA ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR&D Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Mental Health Treatment Delay: A Comparison Among Civilians and Veterans of Different Service Eras.

Goldberg SB, Simpson TL, Lehavot K, Katon JG, Chen JA, Glass JE, Schnurr PP, Sayer NA, Fortney JC. Mental Health Treatment Delay: A Comparison Among Civilians and Veterans of Different Service Eras. Psychiatric services (Washington, D.C.). 2019 May 1; 70(5):358-366.

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


OBJECTIVE: The study compared delay of treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depressive disorder, and alcohol use disorder among post-9/11 veterans versus pre-9/11 veterans and civilians. METHODS: The 2012-2013 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions-III (NESARC-III), a nationally representative survey of U.S. noninstitutionalized adults, was used. Participants included 13,528 civilians, 1,130 pre-9/11 veterans, and 258 post-9/11 veterans with lifetime diagnoses of PTSD, major depression, or alcohol use disorder. Cox proportional hazard models, controlling for relevant demographic characteristics, were used to estimate differences in treatment delay (i.e., time between diagnosis and treatment). RESULTS: Post-9/11 veterans were less likely to delay treatment for PTSD and depression than pre-9/11 veterans (adjusted hazard ratios [AHRs] = 0.69 and 0.74, respectively) and civilians (AHRs = 0.60 and 0.67, respectively). No differences in treatment delay were observed between post-9/11 veterans and pre-9/11 veterans or civilians for alcohol use disorder. In an exploratory analysis, post-9/11 veterans with past-year military health care coverage (e.g., Veterans Health Administration) had shorter delays for depression treatment compared with post-9/11 veterans without military coverage, pre-9/11 veterans regardless of health care coverage, and civilians, although past-year coverage did not predict treatment delay for PTSD or alcohol use disorder. CONCLUSIONS: Post-9/11 veterans were less likely to delay treatment for some common psychiatric conditions compared with pre-9/11 veterans or civilians, which may reflect efforts to engage recent veterans in mental health care. All groups exhibited low initiation of treatment for alcohol use disorder, highlighting the need for further engagement efforts.

Questions about the HSR website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.