Title

Physical and mental health consequences of war-related stressors in older adulthood: An analysis of posttraumatic stress disorder and arthritis in northern Vietnamese war survivors

Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

10-2017

Abstract

Objectives: We examine the impacts of trauma exposures and family stressors associated with the Vietnam War on musculoskeletal health and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) outcomes in elderly Vietnamese who were widely impacted by the war as young adults. Noting that wars’ impacts extend beyond male veterans in most survivor populations, we give attention to male and female war survivors placed in a variety of roles vis-a-vis the war. Method: Utilizing data from the 2010 Vietnam Health and Aging Pilot Study (N = 405), we use logistic and Poisson regression models to estimate the effect of wartime trauma exposures and family stressors on disabling arthritis and PTSD symptoms in male and female northern Vietnamese adults aged 55 and older. Results: The odds of experiencing recent PTSD symptoms are greater in respondents who report involvement in killing/causing severe injury and who observed war atrocities. In women, PTSD is positively correlated with war era child death and spousal separation. Arthritis also exhibits a significant, positive association with killing/causing severe injury. Discussion: Our study provides insights into the burden of conflict upon health among populations of the global south that survived war and are now entering older adulthood. The pattern of results, indicating greatest suffering among those who inflicted or failed to prevent bodily harm or loss of life, is consistent with the concept of moral injury.

Keywords

Arthritis, Burden of conflict, Depression, Disability, Medical sociology, Posttraumatic stress disorder, Veteran, Vietnam War

Discipline

Asian Studies | Gerontology

Research Areas

Sociology

Publication

Journals of Gerontology: Series B

Volume

72

Issue

6

First Page

1090

Last Page

1102

ISSN

1079-5014

Identifier

10.1093/geronb/gbv157

Publisher

Oxford University Press (OUP): Policy B - Oxford Open Option D

Additional URL

http://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbv157