Subjective age, the personal sense of how old one feels, is an important concomitant of posttraumatic outcomes in the second half of life. The present study aims to disentangle the interrelationships between posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms (PTSS) and subjective age, during the COVID-19 pandemic, among a sample of Israeli older adults who are veterans of the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Participants were interviewed in 2015 (T1; N = 259; mean age = 65.23, SD = 5.32) and in 2020, during the COVID-19 outbreak in Israel (T2). We assessed subjective age, PTSS, fear of COVID-19, self-rated health, and COVID-19 related accelerated subjective aging. A cross-lagged path analysis showed that while higher PTSS at T1 were associated with an increase in subjective age from T1 to T2, subjective age at T1 was not associated with PTSS at T2. PTSS at T1, but not subjective age, were associated with higher COVID-19 related accelerated subjective aging at T2. Older adults with continued PTSS due to past traumas, might be susceptible to the stressors of COVID-19 expressed in the personal subjective experience of having aged quickly in a short period of time. Our findings also suggest that in the context of stress and trauma, subjective age is more appropriately conceived as an outcome variable rather than a predictor of PTSS.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier B.V.
- COVID-19 related stress
- Posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms
- Subjective aging
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Biological Psychiatry