The findings suggest that army service, and particularly combat experience, is a hidden variable in analysis on aging, stated Carolyn Aldwin, director of the Center for Healthy Aging Analysis within the College of Public Health at OSU and one of many study’s authors.
“There are a lot of factors of aging that may influence mental wellbeing in late life, but there is something about having been a fight veteran that’s especially important,” Aldwin mentioned.
The findings were printed this month within the journal Psychology and Aging. The first author is Hyunyup Lee, who carried out the analysis as a doctoral student at OSU; co-authors are Soyoung Choun of OSU and Avron Spiro III of Boston University and the VA Boston Healthcare System. The research was funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Institutes on Aging.
There’s little existing research that examines the effects of combat exposure on aging and specifically, on the impacts of a fight on psychological well-being in late life, Aldwin stated. Many aging studies to ask about participants’ status as veterans, however, do not unpack that further to look at variations between those that were exposed to combat and those who weren’t.
“Every war is different. They’ll affect veterans differently,” Aldwin mentioned. “Following 9-11, traumatic brain injuries have risen amongst veterans, whereas mortality charges have lowered. Now we have many extra survivors with far more injuries. These veterans have had a lot of increased ranges of exposure to combat, as well.”
VALOR also offers researchers the opportunity to discover the impression of service on women veterans, whose experiences haven’t often been captured in previous research. About one-third of the participants within the pilot examine had been female veterans, Aldwin mentioned.