War and conflict punctuate the life of many millions of older persons around the world.  These may create complex lingering stressors that impact upon late life health.  Whether war and conflict scar or add resilience as people age is not only an important issue but one that has not received adequate attention.  This stream of research examines the link between multiple dimensions of conflict and many facets of health.  At the moment, the bulk of this research is being based in Vietnam, where wartime survivors of the conflicts in the 1960s and 1970s are now moving into older ages.  We are interested in whether the stressors of early life war and conflict exert enduring effects on health in later adulthood, the mechanisms through which this occurs, and the factors that may moderate relationships between wartime exposure and health, such as social support and family composition.

Vietnam_NIA map
Study sites for the NIA-funded project were strategically selected at the district/city level to cover a spectrum of proximity to war across northern Vietnam as indicated by intensity of bombings. The four sites for data collection are Ba Vi district, Ha Tay province; Yen Khanh district, Ninh Binh province; Bo Trach district, Quang Binh province; and Dong Hoi city, Quang Binh province.

Current Projects:

Health and Aging Post Conflict: War’s Enduring Effects Among Survivors in Vietnam is a R01 Research Project Grant funded by the National Institute on Aging in the U.S. and runs from June 2017 to May 2022.

War and Biological Ageing in Vietnam: A Planning Grant to Foster Collaboration on a Novel Area of Global Research in Health and Ageing is a Planning and Dissemination grant funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and runs from May 2019-May 2020. 

Publications:

Protocol for the Vietnam Health and Aging Study is now published

“Design and measurement in a study of war exposure, health, and aging: protocol for the Vietnam health and aging study,” by Kim Korinek, Bussarawan Teerawichitchainan, Zachary Zimmer, Eleanor Brindle, Thi Kim Chuc Nguyen, Huu Minh Nguyen & Khanh Toan Tran was published on October 23, 2019 in the BMC Public Health, 19, Article number: 1351 (2019).

The study of the long-term impact of war on aging in Vietnam is now underway and began collecting preliminary data in February. The team returned to Vietnam in early May to collect biomarker data and conduct interviews. We look forward to what the results of this data collection will bring.

Thank you to Kim Korinek for the photos.