Little information exists on the health-related quality of life (HRQL) of U.S. veterans based on rural (versus urban) status, especially those in younger age groups, and whether deployment influences this outcome. We addressed these questions in the Millennium Cohort Study, a prospective investigation of U.S. military personnel assessed first in 2001 and then subsequently every three years via self-administered questionnaires. Participants separated from the military at the time of the most recent survey were eligible (n = 10,738). HRQL was assessed using the SF-36V Physical Component Summary (PCS) and Mental Component Summary (MCS) scores. Rural status was assigned from zip codes using the Rural-Urban Commuting Area classification. The mean age of participants was 35 years (SD = 8.98). Compared with urban dwellers, rural residents reported significantly lower unadjusted mean PCS (49.80 vs. 50.42) and MCS (49.97 vs. 50.81) scores, but differences became nonsignificant after covariate adjustment. No interaction was seen between deployment and rural status. Rural status is not independently associated with HRQL among recent U.S. veterans.

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