HEALTH / WELL-BEING

The Lifelong Struggle of Finnish World War II Veterans

Article

This article examines the impact of war experiences and injuries on the lifespan of Finnish World War II veterans.

Abstract

Objectives: In many countries veterans from World War II are growing old. Research has shown that war experiences continue to impact those who have been involved in war for a long time. The present study targets old injured war veterans from World War II in Finland. The aim of this study was to produce knowledge of the impact of war experiences and injuries on the lifespan of Finnish war veterans. Method: The method used was grounded theory. Data were collected by interviewing 20 aged war veterans in their homes. Results: The analysis resulted in four categories, with also subcategories: (1) lost childhood and youth; (2) war traumas impacting life; (3) starting life from scratch; and (4) finding one's own place. A substantive theory of war veterans’ lifelong struggle for freedom throughout the lifespan was outlined. Conclusion: The war overshadowed the whole lifespan of the veterans, but in old age they finally felt free. Since war experiences vary depending on historical context, a formal theory would require additional research.

Full Reference

Nivala, S., & Sarvimäki, A. 2015. The lifelong struggle of Finnish World War II veterans. Aging & Mental Health. 19:6, 493-499 