The long-term consequences of war: the experience of World War II

Aging Ment Health. 2001 May;5(2):183-90. doi: 10.1080/13607860120038393.


Seven hundred and thirty-one World War II and Korean War veterans completed a questionnaire about their experiences and their current psychological reactions to the war. Nineteen percent scored above the cut-off points for both the General Health Questionnaire and the (war-related) Impact of Event Scale, demonstrating that, even over 50 years after the event, many veterans still experience problems relating to their war experiences. Psychological distress was in part directly related to particular experiences, but intrusion and avoidance both played an important role as mediating variables. Other factors, such as prisoner of war (POW) status, type of service, rank, and illness were also considered. The findings indicate that the effects of a traumatic experience such as war can persist into later life.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Combat Disorders / diagnosis
  • Combat Disorders / psychology*
  • Defense Mechanisms
  • England
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Inventory
  • Prisoners / psychology*
  • Social Support
  • Veterans / psychology*
  • Warfare*