The long-term association between exposure to wartime bombing earlier in life and post-traumatic stress later in life among today's older Vietnamese population

Zimmer, Z., Akbulut-Yuksel, M., Young, Y. M., Toan, T. K.
Acta Psychologica, 246:104293, 1–9 (2024)
Open Access


This analysis examines the relationship between exposure to American wartime bombardments earlier in life and later-life PTSD among current surviving Vietnamese aged 59+. It also assesses whether the relationship varies by military status during the war - formal military, informal military, or civilian - and whether associations are explained by exposure to violence and malevolent conditions. Data link survey responses from the 2018 Vietnam Health and Aging Study to provincial-wide level bombing intensity using U.S. Department of Defense records from the Theater History of Operations Vietnam database. PTSD measured using nine items from the PTSD Checklist. Analyses employ multivariate logistic quantile regression. Findings examined for a sample of 2290 Vietnamese survivors and a subsample of 736 Vietnamese that moved at least once during wartime. Results show a robust and significant positive association between province-wide bombing intensity and later-life PTSD scores. Interaction effects indicate civilians have overall lower levels of PTSD than those that were in the formal or informal military, but the association between bombing and PTSD is stronger among civilians. Much of the association is a function of exposure to violence and less is a function of exposure to malevolent conditions. Findings confirm earlier studies that have shown severe deleterious impacts of war trauma, and arial bombardments particularly, on long-term psychological health, while extending extant literature to civilian populations living in Vietnam during intense aerial bombing episodes.

Schlagwörter: Vietnam, ageing, health, psychological factors, war
Das Max-Planck-Institut für demografische Forschung (MPIDR) in Rostock ist eines der international führenden Zentren für Bevölkerungswissenschaft. Es gehört zur Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, einer der weltweit renommiertesten Forschungsgemeinschaften.