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Vets Who Resist Age Stereotypes Are Likely to Age Better

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Veterans, who are more enthusiastic about growing older and actually embrace the thought of getting old, rather than resisting it are much more likely to enjoy better mental health as they get older.

According to the results of a new study that was conducted by the Yale School of Public Health, veterans who embrace and actually welcome the thought of getting older were less likely to experience anxiety, symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, or entertain thoughts of suicide compared to those veterans who resisted aging.

In the study, the researchers analyzed more than 2,000 veterans above the age of 55. They found that older veterans who enjoyed more positive attitudes towards aging, had lower incidence of post-traumatic stress disorder. Among these veterans, only 2% had post-traumatic stress disorder, while in the group of persons with more negative attitudes toward aging, the post-traumatic stress disorder rate was close to 19%.

Among the veterans who embraced aging, just 5% had suicidal thoughts compared to a rate of 30% with the group of persons who had negative attitudes towards aging. Only 4% of the veterans who embraced aging suffered from symptoms of anxiety, compared to a staggering rate of 35% among veterans who had negative views of aging.

Researchers blame marketing, advertising, and the media for promoting the negative effects of aging. Currently, there are more than 9 million veterans above the age of 55 in the United States. Researchers estimate that this group of senior veterans has a higher risk of suicide, compared to younger veterans. Older veterans also are at risk for other psychiatric conditions, and the risk of those conditions lowers if veterans can be encouraged to embrace aging, instead of resisting it.

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