A Life-span Perspective on Combat Exposure and PTSD Symptoms in Later Life: Findings From the VA Normative Aging Study Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/articles/5999n5300

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  • Purpose of the Study: We tested a life-span model of combat exposure on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in later life, examining the direct and indirect effects of prewar, warzone, and postwar factors. Design and Methods: The sample included 947 male World War II and Korean War veterans from the VA Normative Aging Study (Mage = 65, SD = 7). They completed mail surveys on childhood family environment, military service and postwar experience, stressful life events, and PTSD symptoms (response rates > 80%). Results: We constructed an initial path model testing cumulative advantage and disadvantage pathways. Although all hypothesized relationships were significant, the model was not a good fit to the data. Subsequent models showed that all three life-span periods had both direct and indirect effects on PTSD symptoms and that there were interesting cross-links between the two sets of pathways. Implications: The life-span perspective provides a useful heuristic to model various developmental effects on later-life outcomes. A supportive childhood family environment can have lifelong protective effects, whereas a conflictual one can set up lifelong patterns of pessimistic appraisals.
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  • Kang, S., Aldwin, C. M., Choun, S., & Spiro III, A. (2016). A Life-span Perspective on Combat Exposure and PTSD Symptoms in Later Life: Findings From the VA Normative Aging Study. The Gerontologist, 56(1), 22-32. doi:10.1093/geront/gnv120
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