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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

BU Researchers: Helping Aging Veterans Resolve War-time Experiences

In a new article, researchers from the VA Boston Healthcare System, including Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) epidemiology research professor Dr. Avron Spiro, posit that recognizing when older veterans are “re-engaged” with their wartime experiences represents an opportunity to counsel and assist them in order to “maximize healthy aging.”

In the report, published in The Gerontologist, the authors say that many aging combat veterans may confront and adaptively rework their wartime memories “in an effort to find meaning and build coherence.

“Through reminiscence, life review, and wrestling with issues such as integrity versus despair, they intentionally re-engage with experiences they avoided or managed successfully earlier in life, perhaps without resolution or integration,” the authors wrote. If successfully resolved, such a process may help veterans to age in a healthy way, they noted.

The authors said they are working on validating a brief screening measure that could help to detect so-called “later-adulthood trauma reengagement,” in hopes that such a tool could be used in clinical settings, such as primary care visits, to steer veterans to assistance.

To read more about the study, go to: