The longer‐term psychological impact of childhood wartime experiences is an under‐researched area. Davies' (2001) work has been seminal in drawing attention to the challenges that older people face in coming to terms with their early childhood experiences during the Second World War. This project used qualitative research methods to investigate the lived experience of older people who were evacuated during the war or remained in Liverpool, UK and experienced ‘the Blitz’ firsthand. It also investigated older people's understanding of these experiences, the meaning they attributed to them, and how they felt these experiences had affected them across the lifespan. The data collection phase of this project included an initial focus group and four free association narrative (FAN) interviews. Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) was the method used to draw out main themes for each of the participants. Analysis revealed specific psychological issues for each of the participants, along with specific coping strategies. Analysis also suggested that some older people continued to find it challenging to make sense of their early experiences and to assimilate these unusual events into their life narratives. This project has contributed to the limited literature base relating to the longer‐term consequences of early wartime experiences, which may be of use to psychologists working with a range of individuals with past or more recent experiences of war or ‘war‐like’ experiences.
Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 9, 2009
Keywords: Older people; Young people; Interpretative phenomenological analysis; Psychological impact of war; Terrorism