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The longitudinal associations between attitudes to aging and attachment insecurities among combat veterans

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Abstract

For combat veterans, the trauma of war can have lasting effects, that may later extend to attitudes toward one's own aging (ATOA). The present study sought to examine whether attachment insecurities may help to predict ATOA in later life, while also exploring the moderating role of combat exposure concerning the effects of attachment insecurities on subsequent ATOA. A cohort of 171 veterans of the Israeli 1973 Yom Kippur War (mean age = 68.4, SD = 5.1) were interviewed in 1991 (Time 1; T1) and again in 2018 (Time 2; T2). The present study examined the moderating role of combat exposure, within the associations between T1 attachment insecurities and T2 ATOA. A regression analysis revealed that T1 attachment insecurities, T2 health problems, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms predicted more negative T2 ATOA. A significant interaction was found between combat exposure and attachment avoidance, suggesting that the effect of attachment avoidance on ATOA was only significant among participants with high levels of combat exposure. The present findings point to the importance of attachment insecurities for ATOA among veterans, and to the role of combat exposure in moderating these associations. Results indicate possible avenues of intervention and policy for those most vulnerable to negative ATOA. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).

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... Older adults with a history of trauma who suffer from PTSS have shown increased vulnerability to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, as its threatening context may trigger stressful traumatic memories (Solomon et al., 2021). Given the associations between previous traumatic exposure and PTSS, with negative shifts in SA perceptions (i.e., Avidor et al., 2020), the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic may potentially accelerate the subjective sense of aging of older adults with PTSS. However, the directionality of these associations is not clear, and the present study aims to disentangle the interrelationships between the effects of previous trauma, and of previous levels of subjective aging, in predicting the personal sense that one's aging has accelerated due to the pandemic, among a sample of Israeli older adults who are veterans of the 1973 Yom Kippur War. ...
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It is apparent from clinical experience and the literature that persons, who experience severe physical or mental trauma, are susceptible to premature aging (or psychological symptomatology). Long-term follow-up of repatriated prisoners of war also confirm this observation. Coping with physical and mental sequelae of captivity means a constant struggle to maintain some kind of homeostasis. Often, this delicate equilibrium fails. Claude Bernard stated that To have a free life, independent of the external environment, requires a constant internal environment (Bernard, 1957, P. 8). This is the underlying principle of homeostasis. When it collapses due to wear and tear processes, premature aging/morbidity process takes place.
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This chapter addresses the intertwinement of vulnerability and resilience among individuals who age while still bearing past experiences of trauma, or otherwise facing trauma that typically occurs in old age. We review apparently contradictory results available in the literature on older adults exposed to such experiences. Particularly emphasized are coping mechanisms that are available to older adults facing trauma. In order to advance the understanding of these perplexing issues, we present the model of the pursuit of happiness in a hostile world (Shmotkin, Review of General Psychology 9:291–325, 2005), which delineates the dynamic interplay between positive systems that induce a favorable psychological environment (subjective well-being and meaning in life) and the personally perceived image of life adversities (the hostileworld scenario). The chapter suggests that certain adaptational and developmental processes may enlarge, rather than restrict, the options of older adults to cope with trauma.
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Objectives: Little research has addressed the association between posttraumatic stress (PTS) symptoms and posttraumatic growth (PTG) in the second half of life. This study examined whether subjective age and perceived distance-to-death moderate this association. Method: 339 community-dwelling older adults (age range 50�90; M D 65.44, SD D 9.77) were sampled through random dialing to Jewish residents in the south of Israel. Participants completed a phone-questionnaire on PTS symptoms, level of PTG, subjective age, and perceived distance-to-death. Results: Higher levels of PTS symptoms were both linearly and curvilinearly related to higher PTG. Additionally, subjective age and perceived distance-to-death moderated this association in a linear way, so that the association was strongest in participants who reported younger subjective age and further distance-to-death. Discussion: The findings emphasize the moderating effect of two time perspectives, one that focuses on time since birth and another that concerns the time that remains before death. These two perspectives affect the association between posttraumatic stress and posttraumatic growth within older individuals. Get free access to the paper : http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/2aUBBd9B4CH733DEzDxk/full Keywords: posttraumatic stress symptoms; posttraumatic growth; subjective age; perceived distance-to-death
Article
The present research focuses on family involvement reported by offspring and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors (OHS and GHS, respectively). Study 1 included a convenience sample of 75 participants, divided into 2 groups (36 OHS and 39 comparisons). Study 2 included a convenience sample of 92 dyads of OHS and GHS. Both samples completed the Family Involvement Questionnaire and the Holocaust Salience Scale. In line with the hypotheses, Study 1 found that, relative to comparisons, OHS presented greater familial involvement. Only OHS with strong family involvement showed higher Holocaust salience than comparisons. Study 2 showed higher familial involvement among OHS as compared to GHS, and significant parent-child correlations. The results show that family involvement is related to intergenerational transmission of the trauma, especially among OHS. Yet, among OHS and GHS, parents’ and children’s family involvement were associated. The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed. KEYWORDS offspring of Holocaust survivors, grandchildren of Holocaust survivors, Family Involvement Questionnaire, Holocaust salience, trauma transmission Free copy can be achived at : http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/TMkKWfbsVshAsFQ4vfDP/full
Article
Attachment theory has become a key framework for understanding responses to and consequences of trauma across the life course. We predicted that more severe post-traumatic stress (PTS) symptoms at age 37 years would be associated with insecure attachment at age 55 and with worse PTS symptoms 24 years later at age 61, and that age 55 attachment would mediate the influence of earlier PTS symptoms on later symptoms. Data on PTS self-reported symptoms were available for 975 community-dwelling participants from the longitudinal Vietnam Era Twin Study of Aging at ages 37 and 61 years. At age 55, participants completed the Experiences in Close Relationships Inventory, a measure of adult attachment. PTS symptoms at ages 37 and 61 correlated (r = 0.43; p <0.0001). Multiple mediation models found significant direct effects of age 37 PTS symptoms on age 61 PTS symptoms (β = 0.26; 95% confidence interval: 0.19-0.33). Anxious and avoidant attachment at age 55 predicted PTS symptoms at age 61 (r = 0.34 and 0.25; ps <0.0001, respectively) and also significantly mediated PTS symptoms over time, showing that insecure attachment increased PTS severity. Participants with higher age 37 PTS symptoms were more likely to have a history of divorce; marital status did not mediate PTS. Analyses demonstrate the persistence of PTS symptoms from early midlife into early old age. Mediation analyses revealed that one path through which PTS symptoms persisted was indirect: through their influence on attachment insecurity. This study provides insight into ongoing interconnections between psychological and interpersonal responses to stress.
Article
Objective: Physical activity is a key factor for healthy ageing, yet many older people lead a sedentary lifestyle. Traditional physical activity interventions do not consider the specific needs and views of older adults. As views on ageing are known to be related to health behaviours, the current study evaluates the effectiveness of prompting positive views on ageing within a physical activity intervention. Design: Randomised controlled trial with three groups aged 65+: Intervention for physical activity with 'views-on-ageing'-component (n = 101; IGVoA), and without 'views-on-ageing'-component (n = 30; IG), and active control intervention for volunteering (n = 103; CG). Main outcome measures: Attitudes towards older adults and physical activity were assessed five weeks before intervention, two weeks, six weeks and 8.5 months after the intervention. Results: Compared to the IG and CG, positive attitudes towards older adults increased in the IGVoA after the intervention. For IGVoA, the indirect intervention effect on change in activity via change in attitudes towards older adults was reliable. Conclusion: A 'views-on-ageing'-component within a physical activity intervention affects change in physical activity via change in views on ageing. Views on ageing are a promising intervention technique to be incorporated into future physical activity interventions for older adults.
Article
Factors determining who develops PTSD following trauma are not well understood. The €4 allele of the apolipoprotein E (apoE) gene is associated with dementia and unfavorable outcome following brain insult. PTSD is also associated with dementia. Given evidence that psychological trauma adversely affects the brain, we hypothesized that the apoE genotype moderates effects of psychological trauma on PTSD pathogenesis. To investigate the moderation of the relationship between PTSD symptoms and combat exposure, we used 172 participants with combat trauma sustained during the Vietnam War. PTSD symptoms were the dependent variable and number of combat experiences, apoE genotype, and the combat experiences × apoE genotype interaction were predictors. We also examined the outcome of a diagnosis of PTSD (n = 39) versus no PTSD diagnosis (n = 131). The combat × apoE genotype interaction was significant for both PTSD symptoms (P = .014) and PTSD diagnosis (P = .009). ApoE genotype moderates the relationship between combat exposure and PTSD symptoms. Although the pathophysiology of PTSD is not well understood, the €4 allele is related to reduced resilience of the brain to insult. Our results are consistent with the €4 allele influencing the effects of psychological trauma on the brain, thereby affecting the risk of PTSD. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Article
The role of marital breakdown in women's mental health is of key concern in Malaysia and internationally. A cross-sectional questionnaire study of married and separated/divorced and widowed women examined insecure attachment style as an associated risk factor for depression among 1002 mothers in an urban community in Malaysia. A previous report replicated a UK-based vulnerability-provoking agent model of depression involving negative evaluation of self (NES) and negative elements in close relationships (NECRs) interacting with severe life events to model depression. This article reports on the additional contribution of insecure attachment style to the model using the Vulnerable Attachment Style Questionnaire (VASQ). The results showed that VASQ scores were highly correlated with NES, NECR and depression. A multiple regression analysis of depression with backward elimination found that VASQ scores had a significant additional effect. Group comparisons showed different risk patterns for single and married mothers. NES was the strongest risk factor for both groups, with the 'anxious style' subset of the VASQ being the best additional predictor for married mothers and the total VASQ score (general attachment insecurity) for single mothers. The findings indicate that attachment insecurity adds to a psychosocial vulnerability model of depression among mothers cross-culturally and is important in understanding and identifying risk.
Article
Applied Hobfoll's (1988; 1989) Conservation of Resources (COR) stress theory to the instance of traumatic stress. COR theory posits that stress occurs when resources are threatened, when resources are lost, or when individuals invest resources without gaining adequate resources in return. Traumatic stress is seen as particularly threatening to resources and results in rapid resource depletion when it occurs. The rapidness of resource loss is related to the fact that traumatic stressors (1) often attack people's basic values, (2) often occur unexpectedly, (3) make excessive demands, (4) are outside of the realm for which resource utilization strategies have been developed, and (5) leave a powerful mental image that is easily evoked by cues associated with the event. Results from research on traumatic stress are used to illustrate these points and implications for treatment are discussed.
Article
Objective: To understand the association between self-perceptions of aging (SPA) and mortality in late life. Method. The sample (n = 1,507) was drawn from the Australian Longitudinal Study of Aging (baseline age = 65-103 years). We used joint growth curve and survival models on 5 waves of data for a period of 16 years to investigate the random intercept and slope of SPA for predicting all-cause mortality. Results: The unadjusted model revealed that poor SPA at baseline, as well as decline in SPA, increased the risk of mortality (SPA intercept hazard ratio [HR] = 1.21, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.13, 1.31; SPA slope HR = 1.17, 95% CI = 1.02, 1.33). This relationship remained significant for the SPA intercept after adjusting for other risk factors including demographics, physical health, cognitive functioning, and well-being. Conclusion: These findings suggest that a single measurement of SPA in late life may be very informative of future long-term vulnerability to health decline and mortality. Furthermore, a dynamic measure of SPA may be indicative of adaptation to age-related changes. This supports a "self-fulfilling" hypothesis, whereby SPA is a lens through which age-related changes are interpreted, and these interpretations can affect future health and health behaviors.
Article
Conservation of resources (COR) theory is a stress and motivational theory that has been applied broadly in the organizational literature. Increasingly, this literature is transforming from a focus on resource-setting fit to an understanding that ‘fitting’ is an active process that operates dynamically with both individuals and settings altering and metamorphosing. COR theory provides a framework to understand, predict, and examine this transactional relationship that can then be used to shape settings towards more optimal balance of resource cost and benefit. Rather than focusing on single, isolated variables or seeing individuals and settings as independent agents, COR theory suggests that resources exist in caravans. Therefore, employers that hope to ensure employee engagement must maximize the ecology that fosters resource caravan enrichment and challenge that promotes excellence, dedication, and commitment.
Article
Maximum likelihood algorithms for use with missing data are becoming common-place in microcomputer packages. Specifically, 3 maximum likelihood algorithms are currently available in existing software packages: the multiple-group approach, full information maximum likelihood estimation, and the EM algorithm. Although they belong to the same family of estimator, confusion appears to exist over the differ-ences among the 3 algorithms. This article provides a comprehensive, nontechnical overview of the 3 maximum likelihood algorithms. Multiple imputation, which is fre-quently used in conjunction with the EM algorithm, is also discussed. Until recently, the analysis of data with missing observations has been dominated by listwise (LD) and pairwise (PD) deletion methods (Kim & Curry, 1977; Roth, 1994). However, alternative methods for treating missing data have become in-creasingly common in software packages, leaving applied researchers with a wide range of data analytic options. In particular, three maximum likelihood (ML) esti-mation algorithms for use with missing data are currently available: the multi-ple-group approach (Allison, 1987; Muthén, Kaplan, & Hollis, 1987) can be imple-mented using existing structural equation modeling (SEM) software; Amos (Arbuckle, 1995) and Mx (Neale, 1995) offer full information maximum likelihood STRUCTURAL EQUATION MODELING, 8(1), 128–141 Copyright © 2001, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
Article
Past research suggests that sustaining a young identity helps adults maintain a greater sense of well-being. The experience of subjective aging, however, is not a spontaneous phenomenon, but stems from lifelong developmental experiences. Drawing from writings on the life course and self-concept, I consider how parental death in childhood shapes subjective age in adulthood. To examine the effects of maternal and paternal death on subjective age, I employ the Midlife Development in the United States Study (MIDUS). A series of linear regression analyses indicates that maternal death during childhood is associated with an older subjective age in adulthood, death of a father does not have a similar influence on subjective age, and that the effect on subjective age is stronger if maternal death occurred during childhood than during other periods of the life course. The findings highlight interconnections between timing of transitions in the life course, linked lives, and the development of self-concept. Subjective age in adulthood seems to hinge on important biographical experiences from childhood, such as parental death, though the processes differ by the gender of the deceased parent.
Article
Since the rise of the social-behaviorist approach to personality and its elaboration with cognitive concepts following “the cognitive revolution,” psychodynamic theories, usually identified with Sigmund Freud, have taken a beating. This makes it easy for mainstream personality-social psychologists to brush the psychodynamic approach aside. At the same time, researchers in both developmental and personality-social psychology have made great progress in testing and elaborating ideas presented by John Bowlby in his famous trilogy on attachment and loss. What outsiders to that perspective may not realize is that Bowlby was a psychoanalyst who saw himself as retracing Freud’s steps but with the advantage of new theoretical and empirical strategies. In this article, we conceptualize attachment theory as a contemporary psychodynamic approach, show how this theory has helped to bring psychodynamic psychology back to life, and review empirical evidence from our laboratories that supports many of the psychodynamic hypotheses advanced by Bowlby.
Article
The 22-item Philadelphia Geriatric Center (PGC) Morale Scale was subjected to a series of principal component analyses utilizing different item pools and rotating differing numbers of factors. Subjects were 1086 tenants of federally-assisted housing for the elderly and older people living in the community. Results were compared with analyses of the PGC Scale done by Morris and Sherwood. Consideration of factors defined by the analyses suggested three consistently reproduced factors: Agitation, Attitude Toward Own Aging, and Lonely Dissatisfaction, utilizing 17 of the original items. These results were compared with other multi-dimensional measures of morale: the Bradburn Affect Balance Scale, and morale scales reported by Pierce and Clark, and Schooler. In addition to the dimensions derived from the current study related domains of self-rated health, social accessibility, generalized attitude toward aging, and positive affect were suggested as worthy of further exploration as dimensions of morale.
Article
Observed variation between populations in fertility-timing distributions has been thought to contribute to infant mortality differentials. This hypothesis is based, in part, on the belief that the 20s through early 30s constitute "prime" childbearing ages that are low-risk relative to younger or older ages. However, when stratified by racial identification over the predominant first child-bearing ages, maternal age patterns of neonatal mortality vary between groups. Unlike non-Hispanic white infants, African-American infants with teen mothers experience a survival advantage relative to infants whose mothers are older. The black-white infant mortality differential is larger at older maternal ages than at younger ages. While African Americans and non-Hispanic whites differ on which maternal ages are associated with the lowest risk of neonatal mortality, within each population, first births are most frequent at its lowest-risk maternal ages. As a possible explanation for racial variation in maternal age patterns of births and birth outcomes, the "weathering hypothesis" is proposed: namely, that the health of African-American women may begin to deteriorate in early adulthood as a physical consequence of cumulative socioeconomic disadvantage.
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An historical sketch of the manner in which evidence has accumulated showing the ill effects of separation, loss, and maternal deprivation during the early years, and of how, in the light of this evidence, a new conceptual framework, often referred to as attachment theory, has been formulated for understanding personality development and psychopathology. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)