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Hyunyup Lee 1 Article
The Experience of Killing and Health in Late Life: Findings from Korean Vietnam War Veterans
Hyunyup Lee, Sungrok Kang
STRESS. 2022;30(2):85-91.   Published online June 30, 2022
DOI: https://doi.org/10.17547/kjsr.2022.30.2.85
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Background
The current study aimed to examine the effects of combat exposure and killing on mental and subjective physical health later in life among Korean Vietnam War veterans.
Methods
The data were collected from 342 male veterans with a mean age of 72 years (SD=2.57). Veterans were divided based on their histories into three groups: no experience (Group 1), combat exposure only (Group 2), and both killing and combat exposure (Group 3). Analyses of variance (ANOVAs) examined group differences in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, anxiety symptoms, hostility, and perceived physical health.
Results
The ANOVAs showed that PTSD, anxiety symptoms and hostility were most prevalent among the veterans in Group 3 (both killing and combat exposure). No significant differences were found between Groups 1 and 2. Perceived physical health was highest among the veterans in Group 1 (no experience). There were no differences between Groups 2 and 3. Even after controlling for the impacts of optimism and social support after homecoming, these results were similar.
Conclusions
The findings indicate that killing experience and combat exposure should be considered in designing interventions for veterans deployed into active combat zones.

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