Language selection


Search veterans.gc.ca

Research Summary / December 2020

Rationale and Methodology of the 2018 Canadian Armed Forces Members and Veterans Mental Health Follow-up Survey (CAFVMHS): A 16-year Follow-up Survey

A 2002 study on the mental health of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members found high prevalence of mental disorders and unmet need for mental health care. In 2018, a follow up study was conducted to further understand the mental health of Canadian military personnel over time to inform intervention and prevention strategies.

What is this Research About?

This paper explains how the 2018 follow-up study was designed to provide academics and researchers using the data with a rationale for the various concepts measured in the survey. The broad range of data from this survey will be used by academics to support future studies.

What did the Researchers Do?

The researchers followed up with the original Regular Force personnel who participated in the 2002 study to create the first longitudinal Canadian military and Veterans survey. In total, 2,941 participants from the 2002 study also participated in the 2018 survey (66% Veterans/34% active duty; and 87.8% male/12.3% female)

What did the Researchers Find?

Representatives from the University of Manitoba, Veterans Affairs Canada, CAF, the Department of National Defence and Statistics Canada established the data collection protocols. They also consulted subject matter experts.

Many of the 2002 survey questions were used for the 2018 study. Some new content was also added to address the main aims of the survey such as understanding rates of new onset and persistence of mental health disorders, and risk and protective factors related to mental disorders over time. The main concepts included in the 2018 data collection were as follows:

  • sociodemographic and military demographic information
  • general health
  • chronic health conditions
  • mental disorders
  • suicidal ideation, plans, and attempts
  • military-related sexual assault
  • substance use
  • mental health service use
  • medication use
  • perceived need for mental health care
  • childhood experiences and stressors
  • social support
  • moral injury
  • deployment experiences
  • stress
  • physical activity

Study data are now available through the Statistics Canada Research Data Centres across Canada and can be used cross-sectionally or be longitudinally linked to the 2002 CCHS-CFS data.

Source

Afifi TO, Bolton S-L, Mota N, et al. Rationale and Methodology of the 2018 Canadian Armed Forces Members and Veterans Mental Health Follow-up Survey (CAFVMHS): A 16-year Follow-up Survey. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. December 2020.

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0706743720974837

Date modified: