Aging together in the aftermath of war: marital adjustment and subjective age of veterans and their spouses

Sharon Avidor*, Gadi Zerach, Zahava Solomon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Trauma has long-term effects on those directly exposed to it, but it also impacts those closest to them, particularly one’s spouse, as the marital relationship is of central importance for late-life development. Furthermore, traumatic experiences have been shown to be involved in an acceleration of aging, whether through physical health, or via psychological pathways, through an older subjective age. The present work seeks to examine the mutual connections between marital adjustment and the psychological accelerated aging of both spouses among military veterans of the Israeli 1973 Yom Kippur War. Method: Data from two assessments were drawn from a larger longitudinal study. In 2008 (T1) and again in 2015 (T2), 247 veterans and their wives were interviewed on their subjective age, marital adjustment, and PTSD symptoms. Results: An actor–partner interdependence model combined with an autoregressive cross-lagged model, controlling for T1 PTSD symptoms revealed that men’s subjective age at T1 was associated with women’s subjective age at T2, and women’s subjective age at T1 was associated with men’s subjective age at T2. Women’s marital adjustment at T1 was associated with men’s marital adjustment at T2 but not the other way around. Conclusion: Spousal relationships are an important arena in the lives of older adult veterans. The present study contributes new knowledge regarding the paths that predict subjective age by taking account of the subjective age of one’s spouse, as well as levels of marital adjustment. Insights regarding secondary traumatization, as well as gender differences, for the aging process are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1479-1486
Number of pages8
JournalAging and Mental Health
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2022


  • Dyadic analyses
  • PTSD symptoms
  • accelerated psychological aging
  • secondary traumatization


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