The health ramifications of the risky sexual behaviors exhibited by military service members and veterans are profoundly relevant to initiatives intended to serve student veterans on the contemporary college campus. However, best practices for targeting and serving student veterans are in the process of gathering evidence, providing unique opportunity for the college campus to make a difference in student veteran quality of life (Albright, Fletcher, Pelts, & Taliaferro, 2017).
The purpose of the study was to determine whether veteran students and non-veteran students differed in their sexual behaviors and health practices and, furthermore, whether or not those differences were gender specific.
Methods: Secondary data for the present cross-sectional study were retrieved from the American College Health Association’s (ACHA) 2011–2014 National College Health Assessment II (ACHA, 2017a ). The National College Health Assessment II (NCHA) is a voluntary national survey of college students’ health and health behaviors Demographic characteristics of the study sample were explored by calculating frequencies and percentages by military service status. Research questions were explored with maximum likelihood multiple logistic regression. Institutional Review Board approval was obtained prior to analysis of data.
Results: Results showed that student veterans were more likely than non-veteran students to have sex with multiple partners, with males and transgender students more likely than females to report multiple sexual partners. Student veterans were more likely than non-veterans to perform a self-examination for either breast cancer or testicular cancer, with transgender students more likely than females to report having engaged in a self-examination.
Conclusions and Implications: Student veterans were also more likely than non-veterans to have been vaccinated against HPV or Hepatitis B, with male students more likely than females to have been vaccinated. Furthermore, transgender student veterans were less likely than female veterans to have been vaccinated. Finally, male student veterans were more likely than female veterans to report an STI-related doctor visit, with transgender student veterans more likely than female veterans to report an STI-related doctor visit. College campuses are increasingly implementing student veteran-specific programs and services; however, little if any research specifically has explored ways in which safety and health can be promoted within university settings. We recommend that institutions of higher education make concerted efforts to promote safety and health among its student veteran population.