Date of Publication


Faculty Mentor

Thomas Delaney, PhD and Leah Grout PhD, MPH


Analyzing Protective and Risk Factors for Loneliness in Vermont Veterans: A Cross Sectional Study

Melanie Meyer ND MS1, Steve Leonard MEd1, Angela Spetts MS1, Helen Schafer1, and Noah T. Wells1

  1. Coalition Of Researchers Against Loneliness, University of Vermont, Larner College of Medicine, Burlington, VT


Objective. To assess protective and risk factors for loneliness in the Vermont veteran population.

Methods. This cross-sectional study used data from 521 veteran participants in the 2020 Vermont Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey (n=6544). A binary logistic regression model assessed the relationship between loneliness and veteran status while controlling for age, sex, race/ethnicity, marital status, annual household income, metropolitan residence, and self-reported depression.

Results. Being married/partnered and residence in a metropolitan county were protective factors for loneliness in Vermont veterans, with married/partnered veterans having 2.03 times higher odds (95% CI = 1.20, 3.21) and metropolitan dwellers having 2.22 times higher odds (95% CI = 1.18, 3.85) of reporting adequate social/emotional support. Risk factors for loneliness in veterans include annual household income <$75,000 (OR = 0.25, 95% CI = 0.13, 0.49) and depression (OR = 0.36, 95% CI = 0.21, 0.60).

Conclusions. Identifying loneliness is likely an important component of physical/mental health care for veterans. Policies to address loneliness and its potential health impacts should prioritize unmarried/unpartnered, low-to-moderate income, rural, and depressed veterans.

Document Type


Available for download on Saturday, May 10, 2025

Included in

Public Health Commons