Trauma in the Lives of Older Men: Findings from the Normative Aging Study
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Research on the prevalence of traumatic exposure has tended to focus on younger populations, limiting our knowledge about trauma and its effects in older adults. In this study, lifetime trauma exposure was assessed in a sample of 436 male military veterans of World War II and the Korean Conflict (age 59–92). A clinician-administered screening measure, the Brief Trauma Interview, was developed to assess lifetime exposure to 10 categories of trauma using DSM-IV criteria. PTSD was assessed in interview and questionnaires. Despite a high prevalence of trauma exposure, symptom levels were relatively low. Few men met criteria for current or lifetime PTSD. Secondary analyses found that lifetime symptom severity was higher in men who met the DSM-IV A.2 criterion, in contrast with men who did not meet A.2. Findings indicate that trauma is highly prevalent among older men, although many may be asymptomatic.
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