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Frequency and impact of trauma in older women: A military and nonmilitary sample

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Understanding the impact of trauma on late-life functioning in older females is needed in order to provide best care. We explored the impact of trauma on late-life psychological and physical health and functioning among older women (n = 48) who served in the military, or participated in a military lifestyle. Eleven of these women were not veterans, but married to military personnel. Number of traumatic exposures and types of events experienced was associated with increased trauma symptom severity. Trauma symptom severity was associated with decreased physical functioning and increased pain. Increased numbing and avoidance was significantly associated with poorer physical functioning and increased pain. Older women in this study remained at risk of experiencing negative consequences of trauma in terms of increased quantity and severity of trauma symptoms and physical decline and pain. Clinical and research implications are discussed.
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Keywords: Trauma; aging; health; veterans; women

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: National Center for PTSD, VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Menlo Park, California, USA 2: Department of Psychiatry, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA 3: Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, West Haven, Connecticut, USA

Publication date: January 2, 2016

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