Subjective well-being among male veterans in later life: The enduring effects of early life adversity.

TitleSubjective well-being among male veterans in later life: The enduring effects of early life adversity.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsYang, MSee, Quach, L, Lee, LO, Spiro, III, A, Burr, JA
JournalAging & Mental Health
ISSN Number1364-6915
KeywordsAdversity, depression, Life Satisfaction, Military service, Self-rated health

OBJECTIVES: This study investigated the association between childhood and young adult adversities and later-life subjective well-being among older male veterans. We also explored whether early-life parent-child relationships and later-life social engagement served as moderators and mediators, respectively.

METHODS: Data were from the 2008 to 2012 waves of the Health and Retirement Study for male veterans ( = 2026). Subjective well-being measures included depressive symptoms, self-rated health, and life satisfaction. Linear regression with the macro was employed to estimate the relationships.

RESULTS: Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) were positively associated with number of depressive symptoms and negatively related to life satisfaction. Combat exposure, a young adulthood adversity experience, was positively associated with depressive symptoms, but not with self-rated health or life satisfaction. Later-life social engagement mediated the relationship between ACEs and subjective well-being indices. Parent-child relationship quality did not moderate the association between the measures of adversity and any measure of subjective well-being.

DISCUSSION: Childhood adversity and combat exposure were related to worse later life subjective well-being. Also, later-life social engagement mediated the association of two early life adversity measures and subjective well-being. Future research should examine subjective well-being and early life adversity for female veterans and should employ more detailed information about combat exposure.

Citation Key11210
PubMed ID33170037