Hautamäki, A. and Coleman, P.G.
Explanation for low prevalence of PTSD among older Finnish war veterans: social solidarity and continued significance given to wartime sufferings
Aging and Mental Health, 5, (2), . (doi:10.1080/13607860120038348).
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A relatively low rate of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (<10%), has been reported among Finnish veterans of World War II. Possible explanations for this are explored by means of depth interviews with 30 veterans (mean age of 77 years), staying at a Disabled Veterans Hospital and at a Rehabilitation Centre, drawing on an Attachment Theory perspective. The Impact of Event Scale, the General Health Questionnaire, as well as health survey, medical problems, and war experience questions, were administered as part of the interview. A low rate of PTSD symptomatology was also reported in this sample alongside a relatively high level of subjective well-being. Without exception, they spoke freely about the war, often with emotion. Themes that received emphasis in their accounts included the Finnish fighting spirit and the strong reciprocal bonds of loyalty that were felt during the war. The war now featured prominently as part of their integrity as old men, representing a honourable task that they had been called on to fulfil. The significance they attributed to the war had not waned with time. Although this study of older war veterans, in common with other such studies, does not consider the less resilient who have not survived to old age, it does suggest that the strong community spirit built up in the war and continued in Finnish veterans' association after the war together with the continuing esteem of Finnish society, has contributed to the high levels of well-being expressed by the survivors
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