HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Rest and Recuperation in the UK Armed Forces

Article

This article examines how Rest and Recuperation (R&R) impacts the mental health and well-being of UK Armed Forces personnel.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Recent epidemiological evidence suggests that military personnel commonly remain psychologically resilient in the face of adversity they face on deployment. However, the processes that promote resilience have not been well assessed within the UK military. For many years, the UK Armed Forces have operated a policy of rest and recuperation (R&R), which refers to the brief period during which troops return home when on an operational tour of duty. While R&R is thought to play an import ant role in promoting recovery and well-being, there is as yet no empirical evidence to support its effectiveness. AIMS: To explore whether R&R promotes well-being and recovery from the strains of deployment in military personnel. METHODS: Participants completed self-report measures of mental health and exposure to potentially traumatic events (PTEs), as well as an R&R Recovery Questionnaire (R&RRQ). RESULTS: Statistical analysis indicated that the R&RRQ was a reliable measure within the sample of 97 subjects. Participants who reported recovery following R&R reported fewer symptoms of mental health difficulties. However, increased deployment exposure to PTEs was associated with feeling less recovered at the end of R&R. CONCLUSIONS: These preliminary data suggest that R&R can be useful for troops if they can use the time to recover. This study's results are relevant to policymakers and leaders in the military and other groups placed in challenging environments but more work is needed to understand how R&R works and to maximize its capacity to promote well-being among military personnel.

Full Reference

Rest and recuperation in the UK Armed Forces. / Parsloe, Laura; Jones, Norman; Fertout, Mohammed; Luzon, Olga; Greenberg, Neil. In: Occupational Medicine, Vol. 64, No. 8, 12.2014, p. 616-621