This article explores the institution of service life and argues that becoming a member of the armed forces can be represented by a model of culture shock, with reverse culture shock being experienced upon leaving.
In the UK, armed services personnel are perceived to become institutionalised during service, with negative connotations, especially in the process of transition to veteran status. Beverly P Bergman, Howard J Burdett and Neil Greenberg argue that institutionalisation is an inappropriate model, and that becoming a member of the armed forces is better represented by a model of culture shock, with reverse culture shock being experienced upon leaving. The adoption of this model would be useful both in preparing UK service personnel for civilian life and in supporting them after transition, and may help to predict vulnerability.
Bergman, B. P., Burdett, H. J. and Greenberg, N., 2014. Service Life and Beyond – Institution or Culture?. The RUSI Journal, 159(5), 60-68.