Researchers at the Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness at Penn State were primary partners in a collaborative research effort coordinated by the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc. (HJF), a global non-profit organization whose mission is to advance military medicine by supporting research partnerships within the military medical community. In partnership with representatives from the Boston VA Health Care System, VA Central Western Massachusetts Healthcare System, South Texas VA Health Care System, and ICF International, Inc., a multi-year longitudinal study was planned to follow Service members as they transitioned from military service to civilian life.
TVMI Purpose and Funders
The Veterans Metrics Initiative: Linking Program Components to Post-Military Well-Being Study (TVMI Study) was designed to examine well-being during the military-to-civilian transition and to evaluate the effect of program use on well-being outcomes for veterans. The study was publicly and privately funded by organizations who have a vested interest in successful veteran transitions. It was collaboratively sponsored by the Bob Woodruff Foundation, Health Net Federal Services, Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc., Lockheed Martin Corporation, Marge and Philip Odeen, May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust, National Endowment for the Humanities, Northrop Grumman, Prudential, Robert R. McCormick Foundation, Rumsfeld Foundation, Schultz Family Foundation, The Heinz Endowments, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Health Services Research and Development Service, Walmart Foundation, and Wounded Warrior Project, Inc.
TVMI Research Aims
The longitudinal study was conducted between 2016 and 2019 and it had three aims:
- Document veteran well-being in four key domains (vocation, finances, mental and physical health, and social relationships) to identify factors associated with better and worse well-being during the military-to-civilian transition and reintegration period.
- Describe transition assistance programs used by veterans as they reintegrate into civilian life. Distill the programs into components, and identify common elements across programs.
- Identify effective program components that are associated with positive changes in well-being following separation from military service.
TVMI Study Population
Using the United States Veterans Affairs/Department of Defense Identity Repository (VADIR), a total population of 48,965 veterans who had separated from active duty military service or the National Guard or Reserves between August-November 2016 were identified and invited to participate in the TVMI research study. Participants had separated from any service branch (i.e., Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marines). Eligibility criteria for National Guard/Reservist personnel included at least 180 days on active duty status. All potential participants had to have a mailing address within the United States. Of the total invited population, complete data were provided by 9,566 veterans in the first wave of data collection (20% response rate).
Detailed demographics for the original sample have been previously published:
TVMI Study Procedures
Using the contact information provided by VADIR, a subcontractor recruited participants by mailing them an invitation to participate in a web-based, three-year, longitudinal, prospective study examining holistic well-being and program use after the transition from the military. A $5 pre-incentive in cash and a $20 gift code incentive at survey completion was offered to the veteran participants to complete the Wave 1 survey. The overall incentive increased by $5 every wave thereafter. Longitudinal data was collected at six month increments after the initial survey.
Additional information about the study procedures, including participant characteristics and recruitment strategies, can be found in the following publications:
Well-Being Inventory and Component Components Analysis
To assess veteran well-being, the Well-Being Inventory (WBI) was developed. It is a multidimensional assessment tool designed to measure military veterans’ status, functioning, and satisfaction within the four life domains of vocation, finances, mental and physical health, and social relationships. Information on the development of the WBI was published in 2019 in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being. The publication is entitled, Development and Validation of a Tool to Assess Military Veterans’ Status, Functioning, and Satisfaction with Key Aspects of Their Lives. For more information, click here.
To determine the effectiveness of programs and services used by post-9/11 veterans, veterans nominated programs and their core elements were assessed. A modified Common Components Analysis (CCA) approach provided a means of evaluating components of programs without a solid evidence-base, across a variety of targeted outcomes. The adapted CCA approach (a) captured a variety of similar program characteristics to increase the quality of the comparison within components; (b) identified components from four primary areas (i.e., content, process, barrier reduction, and sustainability) within specific programming domains (e.g., vocation, social); and (c) proposed future directions to test the extent to which the common components are associated with changes in intended program outcomes (e.g., employment, job retention). To learn more about this approach, see the following publications:
Morgan, N. R., Davis, K. D., Richardson, C., & Perkins, D. F. (2018). Common components analysis: An adapted approach for evaluating programs. Evaluation and Program Planning, 67, 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2017.10.009
Richardson, C. B., Morgan, N. R., Bleser, J. A., Aronson, K. R., & Perkins, D. F. (2019). A novel approach for evaluating programs designed to serve military veterans: Using an adapted common components analysis. Evaluation and Program Planning, 72, 145-151. https://doi.org/10.1093/milmed/usz129
Learn More About The Veteran Metrics Initiative
Current and Expanded
TVMI Study Efforts
Six comprehensive surveys were administered at six-month intervals (Waves 1-6) over the course of the three-year TVMI study period to the veteran sample who discharged from military service or deactivated from active status in the National Guard/Reserves. The data continues to be mined and findings have been presented in a variety of presentations and publications (see the Resources tab).
Penn State researchers at the Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness continue to analyze and communicate TVMI data results. Through the VETERANetwork, the researchers bring together public and private partners with the aim of making the data actionable and positively informing policies, practices, and programs/services provided to veterans. In addition, Penn State researchers have assumed a leadership role in expansion of the longitudinal TVMI study. See the tab for the VETS Study for more information about wave seven of data collection.