Delaney Glass, a graduate student in biological anthropology at the University of Washington, kindly invited me to be part of a project on the effects of the Vietnam War (or Second Indochina War or the American war, depending on your perspective) on the health of older Vietnamese adults. The article is now in press in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research and titled: “Weathering within war: Somatic health complaints among Vietnamese older adults exposed to bombing and violence as adolescents in the American war.”
There’s a lot in here, but to me the main takeaway is that proximity to intense US bombing in adolescence, particularly early adolescence, was associated with health complaints decades later in older Vietnamese adults. I think it speaks to the long reach of war, and it adds to what we know about the many ways war can become embodied, lasting for a very long time in the health of survivors. It also provides another example of how the Second Indochina War disrupted health, as was the case in Laos and Cambodia.