single soldiersIn my previous post, I described the first set of results from the RAND report about the Wounded Warriors Project. Those findings showed that on all sorts of measures of emotional and physical health, the veterans who had always been single were the healthiest. In this second part, I will summarize the other data from the report. Those results answer the questions of whether the vets of different marital statuses differed in their levels of education, their employment status, or whether they own homes.


Completed an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, or higher:

38%, married

32%, divorced

35%, always-single

(The differences between the always-single and the married or divorced were not significant.)

Employed full-time (first number), part-time (second number), or unemployed (third number):

47%, 5%, 17%, married

32%, 7%, 33%, divorced

37%, 11%, 26%, always-single

Owns a home:

68%, married

39%, divorced

27%, always-single

Though the single warriors appear to be a little less likely than the married ones to have an advanced degree (35% vs. 38%), the difference actually is not statistically meaningful.

The married warriors fare much better than everyone else on the other two outcomes: employment and home ownership. The married (relative to the others) are especially likely to have full-time jobs, the single are especially likely to have part-time jobs, and the divorced are particularly likely to be unemployed. The married are also far more likely to own a home than either the single or the divorced warriors.

One note about singlism in the report: In two places in the text, the authors declare that the married veterans did better than the others, when in fact their results showed that it was the always-single who did the best.

If this were a journal article instead of a technical report, then the authors would need to include a discussion section in which they provide their interpretations of what it all means. Instead, the report includes just a one-page conclusion section in which the findings are summarized and some comments are made about whether the program seems to accomplishing its goals.

Keep in mind that these data cannot answer questions about causality. When married or divorced vets report worse mental and physical health than single vets, we can’t say that they did worse because they got married. We just don’t know. Maybe they got married because they were feeling lousy and looked for a “rock” to lean on.  Or maybe the explanation is something else entirely.

With that caveat in mind, I have a question: Why did the single warriors consistently have better mental and physical health than the married ones? Remember, according to the stereotypes, single people “don’t have anyone.” No rocks for them!

I have another question. Why is it that the single vets are so much less likely than the married ones to be employed full-time when they are the most healthy, mentally and physically, and the least likely to find that their emotional or physical problems interfere with their work?

Just asking.

[Note: Thanks again to Natalya Anfilofyeva for the heads-up about the RAND report.]

Home ownership photo available from Shutterstock