What is the Impact of Military Service Exposures & Psychological Resilience on the Mental Health Trajectories of Older Male Veterans?

Research Paper Title

The Impact of Military Service Exposures and Psychological Resilience on the Mental Health Trajectories of Older Male Veterans.

Background

The researchers examine the impact of exposure to the dead, dying, and wounded (DDW) during military service on the later-life depressive symptom trajectories of male United States veterans, using psychological resilience as an internal resource that potentially moderates negative consequences.

Methods

The Health and Retirement Study (2006-2014) and linked Veteran Mail Survey were used to estimate latent growth curve models of depressive symptom trajectories, beginning at respondents’ first report of resilience.

Results

Veterans with higher levels of resilience do not have increased depressive symptoms in later life, despite previous exposure to DDW. Those with lower levels of resilience and previous exposure to DDW experience poorer mental health in later life.

Conclusions

Psychological resilience is important for later-life mental health, particularly for veterans who endured potentially traumatic experiences. The researches discuss the importance acknowledging the role individual resources play in shaping adaptation to adverse life events and implications for mental health service needs.

Reference

Urena, S., Taylor, M.G. & Carr, D.C. (2020) The Impact of Military Service Exposures and Psychological Resilience on the Mental Health Trajectories of Older Male Veterans. Journal of Aging and Health. doi: 10.1177/0898264320975231. Online ahead of print.

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