Aging, Depression, and Wisdom: A Pilot Study of Life-Review Intervention and PTSD Treatment With Two Groups of Vietnam Veterans

Lori R. Daniels, James Boehnlein, Phillip McCallion

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


Vietnam War veterans are a sometimes overlooked subgroup of the aging baby boomer generation. Forty years after the war ended, war veterans still seek out VA or Vet Center counselors to assist with traumatic stress symptoms. However, there currently are no specific age-related protocols for treating older war veterans suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), nor have established PTSD interventions incorporated gerontology content for these older trauma survivors. This pilot study juxtaposed life review within regular PTSD group counseling for 12 Vietnam veterans at a community-based Vet Center using a partial crossover design. The Life Review and Experiencing Form (LREF) structured the delivery of the life review component. T-tests and repeated measures ANOVA were used to examine depression and self-assessed wisdom outcomes using measures previously tested with older adults. Findings suggest that life review prior to PTSD group therapy has clinical benefits for reducing symptoms of depression and increasing self-assessed wisdom. The study illuminates the possible relationship of traumatic stress symptom effects on the natural reminiscing process for older veterans and provides insights into methods for more age-appropriate treatment for trauma survivors participating in Vet Center and VA programs nationwide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)420-436
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Gerontological Social Work
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 19 2015



  • PTSD
  • Vietnam War
  • aging
  • depression
  • life review
  • older veterans
  • reminiscence
  • reminiscing
  • self-assessed wisdom
  • traumatic stress
  • veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Nursing (miscellaneous)

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