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HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Coming Home: Social Functioning and the Mental Health of UK Reservists on Return From Deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan

September, 2011
Article:

Over recent decades, many Western states have reconfigured the composition of their military, with a greater reliance on Reservist personnel to supplement the work of Regular military personnel. This study explores the transition from military deployment to civilian living for Reservists compared to Regular military personnel.

Abstract

There is speculation that high rates of mental illness among Reservists returning from deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan may be due to the challenge of reintegrating into civilian life. We aimed to examine the postdeployment social functioning of Reservists and explore the relationship between adverse postdeployment experiences and subsequent mental ill health. Compared with Regular personnel, Reservists were more likely to feel unsupported by the military and to have difficulties with social functioning in the postdeployment period. Perceived lack of support from the military was associated with increased reporting of probable posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and alcohol misuse. Low levels of non-military postdeployment social support and participation were associated with increased reporting of common mental disorder, probable PTSD, and alcohol misuse. Many Reservists find the transition from military deployment to civilian life difficult. Differences in postdeployment experiences may explain some of the increased rates of mental ill health among Reservists.

Full Reference

Samuel B. Harvey, Stephani L. Hatch, Margaret Jones, Lisa Hull, Norman Jones, Neil Greenberg, Christopher Dandeker, Nicola T. Fear, Simon Wessely, 2011, Elsevier, Coming Home: Social Functioning and the Mental Health of UK Reservists on Return From Deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan, 21, 9, 666-672.

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