TitleTwo faces of wartime experience: Veterans’ appraisals and collective memories in later life.
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsSettersten, RA, Recksiedler, C, Godlewski, B, Elder, Jr., GH
Book TitleLong-term outcomes of military service: The health and wellbeing of aging veterans
PublisherAmerican Psychological Association Press
CityWashington, DC

The United States spends more than $100 billion annually on health care for more than 30 million active military and veterans. Using data compiled from longitudinal studies of World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War veterans, the contributors to this groundbreaking book examine the effects of military service across the lifespan.

The prevalence of negative trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among military veterans is well known. But other, more subtle, effects of military service — particularly on health and well-being in later life — are less understood among researchers as well as medical and mental health professionals who care for veterans.

Chapters in this book provide crucial insights into the impact of military service, including the surprising finding that service can be a protective factor in some contexts, throughout the aging process.

Topic areas include the effects of combat and stress on longevity and brain functioning; the use of memory, cognition, and ego development at various points in life; the relationship between experiences of discrimination and the later development of PTSD; marriage longevity; employment; and the ways notions of patriotism and nationalism among service personnel and their families may change over time.