Carolyn M. Aldwin

Carolyn M. Aldwin
Oregon State University | OSU · Department of Human Development and Family Sciences (HDFS)

Ph.D.

About

160
Publications
87,799
Reads
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6,758
Citations
Additional affiliations
September 2004 - present
Center for Healthy Aging Research, Oregon State University
Position
  • Jo Anne Leonard Endowed Director,

Publications

Publications (160)
Article
Full-text available
Type 2 diabetes has increased in prevalence globally, with potential adverse effects on cognition. Both high levels of hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) and stressful life events (SLEs) are associated with impaired cognitive performance, but few studies have examined their synergistic effects. The present study examined direct effects of stress and HbA1c on s...
Article
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Prior research on Veterans’ mental health has largely focused on identifying risk and protective factors for negative psychological symptoms such as PTSD. However, mental health indicates not merely absence of psychopathology, but also the existence of positive psychological well-being (Keyes, 2005). Thus, the current study aimed to examine the cor...
Article
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Objectives We used a social ecological model to examine vulnerability and resilience among older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods We analyzed two open-ended questions included in a survey of 235 respondents, 51–95 years old (M = 71.35; SD = 7.39; 74% female), which asked about COVID-19-related difficulties and positive experiences duri...
Article
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The COVID-19 pandemic is a challenging situation for many older adults at elevated risk for mortality. Social distancing and lockdown to prevent contagion may result in social isolation and feelings of loneliness, which can have adverse effects on health. We examined how depressive symptoms were associated with between-person differences and within...
Article
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Several cross-sectional studies have examined stressors and positive events among older adults during COVID-19. We extend these studies by examining changes across time in perceptions of stress and positive experiences. Older adults in Oregon (Mage = 71.1, SD = 7.3, range = 51-95) completed weekly surveys from April 28 to June 23, responding to an...
Article
Relatively little is known about South Korean Vietnam War veterans, despite their being the second largest contingent of troops during the Vietnam War. Earlier research found elevated levels (39%) of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in this older population, due to high exposure to combat and malevolent environments (Lee et al., 2020). The pre...
Article
Objectives: We examined sources of vulnerability and resilience among older adults early in the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: We surveyed 235 respondents, 51-95 years old (M = 71.35; SD = 7.39; 74% female), including two open-ended questions concerning COVID-19-related difficulties and positive experiences during the past week. Using inductive cod...
Chapter
There are two central conundra in the field of stress, coping, and aging. First, why do older adults report less stress than do younger adults, despite the manifest problems of late life, such as increases in health problems of self and others, losses of loved ones, and restricted financial income? Second, why do older adults use fewer coping strat...
Article
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Much is known about the mental health of combat Vietnam Veterans, but less is known about Persian Gulf and post-9/11 veterans and how they compare to those from earlier eras. Using data from an online survey of Oregon veterans, we examine how PTSD symptoms differ by combat exposure across these three cohorts. The sample (N=167, Mage=57.86, SD=12.09...
Article
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We investigated the dimensional structure of mental health among aging Korean Veterans using latent profile analysis (LPA) on posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms (PTSD), late onset stress symptomology (LOSS), and psychosocial well-being (PWB). The Korean Vietnam War Veterans Study consists of 367 men (Mage=72, SD=2.66). LPA identified five class...
Article
The Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5) has been found to consist of various subscales in U.S. Veterans. The current study replicated the dimensional structure of the PCL-5 and examined the associations of PTSD symptoms with combat exposure, mental health, subjective physical health, and eudaimonic well-being among Korean Vet...
Article
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This article views adult development through the lens of daily life experiences and recent historical changes in these experiences. In particular, it examines whether theories that postulate general linear increases in well-being throughout adulthood still hold during times of less prosperity and more uncertainty. Descriptive analyses of the Nation...
Article
Objective: South Korea had the second largest contingent of soldiers in the Vietnam War, but little is known about their adaptation, especially in later life. Previous work in a different sample found very high rates of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD; 41%) among Korean Vietnam veterans (KVVs; Kang, Kim, & Lee, 2014), compared to 19-31% for Am...
Article
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Previous research using the Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study identified four patterns of aging using group-based multi-trajectory modelling to identify joint changes in life satisfaction (LS) and functional health (FH) (Nath et al., 2018a,b). The purpose of the present study was to examine whether personality traits predicted these four patte...
Article
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There are mixed results in studies examining rural/urban differences in PTSD symptoms among veterans; however, many of these studies failed to consider possible confounds with geographic location. This study examined rural/urban differences in PTSD symptoms by combat exposure, war cohort, and gender. The VALOR (Veterans Aging: Longitudinal studies...
Article
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Mortality rates have declined significantly in the past decades. However, Case and Deaton (2015) showed that middle-aged white Americans with lower education levels have increasing mortality rates. Although some have suggested that stress is an important factor in both this and in racial/ethnic disparities in mortality, relatively few studies have...
Article
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Nearly all the research on appraisals of military service and homecoming experiences have been done on World War II veterans. However, Spiro et al. (2016) hypothesized that there were war cohort differences in military experiences that could affect life-long adaptation. For example, Boscarino et al. (2018) found that Vietnam veterans reported less...
Article
Adverse early experiences have been associated with higher mortality risk, but evidence varies by type of experiences, and relatively little is known about the role of favorable early experiences on health in later life. This study evaluated the independent contributions to longevity of favorable and unfavorable early experiences, including psychos...
Chapter
Full-text available
Practical wisdom is focused on sound decisions to promote a good life, while self-transcendent wisdom focuses on making ethical decisions for the greater good. Self-transcendence develops through self-knowledge, integration, and non-attachment, which focuses on decentering from egoistic perspectives. It emphasizes the interconnectedness of people a...
Article
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Cross-sectional studies have shown contradictory results concerning the impact of combat exposure on mental health in later life. We examined whether combat exposure influences trajectories of mental health symptoms in older male veterans using longitudinal data collected from 1985 to 1991 in the Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study (N = 1,105, a...
Article
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Wisdom development has typically been studied as a function of the individual, yet the social environment can also facilitate its development (Igarashi, Levenson, & Aldwin, 2018). We extended our earlier work by examining the sequence of social support and timing of pivotal wisdom-promoting social transactions following a difficult life event. Semi...
Article
Control beliefs are related to health outcomes, especially in persons with chronic illnesses. We examined whether HbA1c, an indicator of glucose regulation, and control beliefs were predictive of survival for individuals diagnosed with diabetes, and whether control beliefs moderated the effects of HbA1c. The sample consisted of 1,901 individuals wi...
Article
Most studies on the long-term effects of military service have utilized U.S. veterans. In particular, South Koreans had the second largest contingent of troops in the Vietnam War, but little is known about correlates of long-term outcomes of military service among Korean Vietnam War veterans. Previous research showed that both proximal (current str...
Article
Religious meaning can be an important predictor of health outcomes in later life. We hypothesized that the type of religious meaning – positive or negative – may have differential effects on health outcomes. We examined whether the positive or negative meaning predicted mortality risk in congestive heart failure patients (N = 191; 64% male; Mage =...
Article
Combat is one of the most traumatic experiences that one can experience. Sequellae such as post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) can last into late life. Combat involves not only facing severe bodily harm and death to one’s self, but also harm to members of one’s own unit, civilians, and enemy soldiers. However, most soldiers do not develop chronic...
Article
This study examined age-related changes in optimal aging among older men, and several personality traits (i.e., optimism, neuroticism, extraversion) as predictors of optimal aging classes. The sample consisted of 1,422 men from the Veterans Affairs’ Normative Aging Study (Spiro & Bossé, 2001), who provided 5,173 observations (M = 2.73, SD = 1.53, r...
Article
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Objectives: This study examined the development of wisdom within the context of difficult life events (DLEs), and the importance of individuals and their social environments in this process of growth. Social support has long been studied in adulthood, yet less is known about the ways social transactions can promote wisdom. Method: Semi-structure...
Book
This edited volume presents insights into the impact of military service, including the surprising finding that service can be a protective factor in some contexts, throughout the aging process. Topic areas include the effects of combat and stress on longevity and health functioning; service's impact on memory, cognition, and ego development at var...
Article
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Background and objectives: We reviewed the literature on older adults (OAs) who are caring for persons living with HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), with the goal of adapting models of caregiver stress and coping to include culturally relevant and contextually appropriate factors specific to SSA, drawing on both life course and cultural capita...
Article
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As many health disparities in American minority communities (AMCs) are stress related, there has been an increased interest in the development of mindfulness programs as potential stress-reduction measures in these communities. However, the bulk of the extant literature on mindfulness research and mindfulness interventions is based upon experiences...
Article
In the last 30 years, the scientific study of wisdom has flourished. Significant advancements have been made in terms of the definition and measurement of wisdom. Less work, however, has examined how wisdom manifests in, and develops from, real-life experiences. This is a noteworthy gap in the literature, given that wisdom is a highly contextual ph...
Article
Many studies of aging have been conducted on samples that include WWII and Korea-era veterans; thus, military service a “hidden variable” in aging research. The impact of service on later life development and aging is poorly understood, yet its effects are often broad and long-ranging, and can alter lives in positive as well as negative ways. This...
Article
Combat exposure influences posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) throughout the lifespan, including late life (Kang et al., 2016; Settersten, 2006). While PTSD is often comorbid with depression and anxiety (e.g., Stander et al., 2014), surprisingly few studies examine whether combat exposure influences the age-related trajectories of depressive and...
Article
Although 320,000 South Korean army troops fought in the Vietnam War, few studies of Korean Vietnam War veterans exist. We used a lifespan developmental perspective to predict PTSD symptoms in later life among 450 male Korean Vietnam War veterans (Mage = 66.98, SD = 3.04). They completed mail surveys about prewar (prior stressors, childhood family e...
Article
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While research has documented long-term negative effects of combat exposure, we focused on possible long-term positive effects via positive appraisals of military service. We also assessed the effects of optimism and education using 1,006 male veterans from the VA Normative Aging Study surveyed in 1990 and 1991 (Mage = 62, SD = 7, range = 44–89). W...
Article
Objective: Combat exposure can have long-term negative effects in later life; although aspects of service may be appraised positively, the long-term positive effects of combat on well-being in later life is largely unknown. Method: The sample included 1,006 male veterans from the VA Normative Aging Study, surveyed by mail in 1986, 1990, and 1991...
Article
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Stress-related growth (SRG) is defined as positive outcomes resulting from stressful or traumatic experiences, such as increases in mastery or coping skills, closeness to others, and spirituality. SRG varies by age, sex, and ethnicity, and is influenced by coping strategies, social support, and stress severity. SRG can occur through mobilization of...
Poster
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In sub-Saharan Africa, older adults are increasingly being called upon to provide care for someone who is orphaned, ill, disabled or aged, but the social and cultural context of care present unique challenges provision of care and wellbeing. Data from WHO’s SAGE Wellbeing of Older People Study HIV: South Africa wave 1 (2010) were used to examine th...
Article
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We examined whether longitudinal patterns of hassles and uplifts trajectories predicted mortality, using a sample of 1315 men from the VA Normative Aging Study (mean age = 65.31, SD = 7.6). In prior work, we identified different trajectory classes of hassles and uplifts exposure and intensity scores over a period of 16 years. In this study, we used...
Article
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Most research on military service focuses on its short-term negative consequences, especially the mental and physical injuries of those deployed in warzones. However, studies of long-term outcomes reveal surprisingly positive effects of military service-both those early in adulthood that grow over time and others that can emerge later in life. Thes...
Chapter
Stress can adversely affect both psychological and physical health when environmental demands outweigh an individual's psychological and physical resources. Coping strategies are evoked in response to stress and refer to how a person manages and adapts to external and internal difficulties associated with stress. The popularity of coping research c...
Article
Although early adversity has been linked to worse mental and physical health in adulthood, few studies have investigated the pathways through which positive and negative dimensions of early experiences can jointly influence psychological well-being in later life. This study examined: (a) profiles of early experiences across multiple domains, (b) th...
Article
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Science is in the midst of a Kuhnian paradigm shift, from causal, deterministic models to more probabilistic ones that emphasize systems approaches. In the developmental sciences, this shift has been manifesting in relational developmental systems theories (RSDTs) which that highlight multilevel analyses, interindividual differences in intraindivid...
Article
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Objective: Spirituality is favorably related to depression, quality of life, hospitalizations, and other important outcomes in congestive heart failure (CHF) patients but has not been examined as a predictor of mortality risk in this population. Given the well-known difficulties in managing CHF, we hypothesized that spirituality would be associate...
Article
We tested a life-span model of combat exposure on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in later life, examining the direct and indirect effects of prewar, warzone, and postwar factors. The sample included 947 male World War II and Korean War veterans from the VA Normative Aging Study (Mage = 65, SD = 7). They completed mail surveys on chil...
Article
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This study aimed to examine reciprocal relations between cholesterol and depression. We assessed cholesterol and depressive symptoms twice over a 3-year interval, using 842 men from the Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study (M = 64, standard deviation = 8). Because depressive symptoms were skewed, we used zero-inflated Poisson analyses. Cross-lagg...
Article
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Whether wisdom is a culturally-specific or universal construct is a matter of some debate (see Curnow 1999; Grossman et al. Psychological Science, 2012). This study compared similarities and differences in the factor structure of a measure of wisdom focused on self-transcendence in U.S. (n = 305, M age = 33.99) and Korean samples (n = 838, M age =...
Article
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The articles in this issue are all based on the invited addresses given by the authors at the 2013 biennial meeting of the Society for the Study of Human Development. All of the authors address the unfolding paradigm shift in developmental sciences, from reductionism to relational developmental system theories. This theoretical stance involves the...
Article
We investigated whether hassles mediated the effect of life events on mortality in a sample of 1293 men (Mage=65.58, SD=7.01), participants in the VA Normative Aging Study. We utilized measures of stressful life event (SLE) and hassles from 1989 to 2004, and men were followed for mortality until 2010. For life events and hassles, previous research...
Article
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We examined whether the social convoy model and socioemotional selectivity theory apply in collectivistic cultures by examining the contextual factors which are hypothesized to mediate age-related differences in social support in a collectivist European country. Five hundred Spanish community-dwelling older adults (Mean age = 74.78, SD = 7.76, rang...
Article
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To examine emotion regulation in later life, we contrasted the modified hedonic treadmill theory with developmental theories, using hassles and uplifts to assess emotion regulation in context. The sample was 1,315 men from the VA Normative Aging Study aged 53 to 85 years, who completed 3,894 observations between 1989 and 2004. We computed 3 scores...
Article
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The literature on religiousness, spirituality (R/S), and health has increased dramatically in the past decade, but suffers from a lack of integrative theoretical models and well-defined constructs. Drawing on self-regulation theory, we hypothesized that the effects of religiousness (e.g., affiliation, service attendance) on health affects behaviora...
Chapter
Wisdom has returned to psychology, as a topic of study at least, and several approaches have been advanced, some very general and perhaps somewhat vague, and others quite specific. Wisdom has been understood in a number of quite different ways each of which has some domain-specific validity. Indeed, "wisdom" has such a broad range of denotation tha...
Article
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Resilience is a phenomenon seen at the individual, contextual, and larger sociocultural levels. In later adulthood, it has been equated with successful or optimal aging. We present a transactional, ecological model that is based on individual stress and coping processes, which are informed by resources and barriers at the community and sociocultura...
Article
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Examination of stress and coping across the lifespan clearly reflects the principles of lifespan development. Stress and coping processes change across the lifespan, require a multidisciplinary perspective to understand that change, are affected by the social context, and demonstrate individual differences in trajectories of change. How stress chan...
Article
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We examined long-term patterns of stressful life events (SLE) and their impact on mortality contrasting two theoretical models: allostatic load (linear relationship) and hormesis (inverted U relationship) in 1443 NAS men (aged 41-87 in 1985; M = 60.30, SD = 7.3) with at least two reports of SLEs over 18 years (total observations = 7,634). Using a z...
Article
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Although older adults are thought to experience more stress and to be more vulnerable to its adverse effects, they often report less stress than younger adults and sometimes show more resilience. Paradoxically, while stress sometimes has long-term positive effects on well-being, studies differ as to whether this increases or decreases with age. We...
Chapter
Coping and development are inextricably intertwined. Neural, cognitive, and the psychosocial systems underlie the development of both problem- and emotion-focused coping strategies in childhood. In turn, how individuals cope with problems can affect developmental trajectories across the life span. This review synthesizes the literature on developme...
Article
This issue on resilience across the life span honors the enormous contributions that Emmy E. Werner has made to developmental psychology. Her longitudinal work has challenged long-held assumptions concerning the inevitability of adverse adult outcomes for high-risk children. She focused instead on their resilience and interactions between the indiv...
Article
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The paths via which childhood experiences influence well-being in adulthood are not well defined because most research relies on retrospective reports. This study examined the influence of demographic characteristics and current mood states on the reliability of reports of childhood experiences. The Child Experiences Scale (CES) was administered in...
Article
We examined the interplay between three explanatory hypotheses for why older adults appear to rate their problems as less stressful than do younger adults: age-related differences in personality, in types of problems, and in the appraisal process-specifically, the number of primary stress appraisals. A sample of 1054 men from the Normative Aging St...
Article
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Stress, even extremely traumatic stress, may pose both risks and benefits. Although combat can have lifelong negative consequences, the perception of positive benefits from military experience can mitigate the negative effects of combat on mental health. However, little research has examined the impact of trauma earlier in life on the development o...
Article
Exposure to trauma can lead to both posttraumatic growth and posttraumatic stress, but little is known about the commonalities and differences in the pathways through which they occur. The authors examined coping and emotional reactions as mediators of the effect of television exposure on both posttraumatic growth and posttraumatic stress in a nati...
Article
The personality traits of introversion/extraversion and neuroticism were investigated as determinants of the utilization of restorative dental care, controlling for socioeconomic status and restorative need. The VA Dental Longitudinal Study (DLS) provided information on the restorative treatment received by 593 healthy adult males during a 10–year...
Article
Although coping has been shown to influence physical health in younger populations, whether coping affects health in older adults appears to depend upon how coping and health are conceptualized. This article reviews recent literature on coping and health in older adults in three areas. First, we discuss coping's distinct relevance to health in olde...
Chapter
This chapter reviews the behavioral and psychosocial factors that influence the rate from a life span developmental perspective. Some factors are aging accelerators―they appear to hasten decline in specific organ systems and/or more general physiological processes. These include health behavior habits, such as smoking and obesity; and personologica...
Chapter
This chapter reviews the behavioral and psychosocial factors that influence the rate from a life span developmental perspective. Some factors are aging accelerators―they appear to hasten decline in specific organ systems and/or more general physiological processes. These include health behavior habits, such as smoking and obesity; and personologica...