Many aging studies ask about participants' status as veterans, but don't unpack that further to look at differences between those who were exposed to combat and those who weren't.
Many aging studies ask about participants' status as veterans, but don't unpack that further to look at differences between those who were exposed to combat and those who weren't.

Combat veterans more likely to experience depression, anxiety later in life: Study

ANI | Updated: Jul 04, 2019 19:52 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], July 4 (ANI): Military veterans exposed to combat are more likely to experience depression and anxiety later in their life than those who have not seen combats, shows a recent study.
The study was published in the journal of 'Psychology and Aging'.
"There are lot factors of aging that can impact mental health in late life, but there is something about having been a combat veteran, that is especially important," said Carolyn Aldwin, one of the authors of the study.
There is little existing research that examines the effects of combat exposure on aging and in particular, on the impact of combat on mental health in late life, Aldwin said.
Many aging studies ask about participants' status as veterans, but don't unpack that further to look at differences between those who were exposed to combat and those who weren't.
Using data from the Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study, a longitudinal study that began in the 1960s to investigate aging in initially healthy men, the researchers explored the relationship between combat exposure and depressive and anxiety symptoms, as well as self-rated health and stressful life events.
They found that increased rates of mental health symptoms in late life were found only among combat veterans. The increases were not seen among veterans who had not been exposed to combat.
Generally, mental health symptoms such as depression and anxiety tend to decrease or remain stable during adulthood but can increase in later life. The researchers found that combat exposure has a unique impact on that trajectory, independent of other health issues or stressful life events.
"In late life, it's pretty normal to do a life review. For combat veterans, that review of life experiences and losses may have more of an impact on their mental health. They may need help to see meaning in their service and not just dwell on the horrors of war," said Aldwin.
Most of the veterans in the study served in World War II or Korea. (ANI)

iocl