HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Sustained positive behaviour change of wounded, injured and sick UK military following an adaptive adventure sports and health coaching recovery course

Article

This study offers a novel contribution and significant extension to existing literature by highlighting the enduring impacts of adaptive sports and adventure training programmes in activating UK WIS military personnel to make constructive changes in everyday life. A qualitative exploration was conducted of the behaviour change of UK inservice, recovering military personnel 12months following a Multi-Activity Course (MAC) completion. This research also strengthens the support for use of Self-Determination Theory as an underpinning theoretical frame- work for adventure sports programme design to facilitate long-term improvements in health behaviours and positive psychological well-being.

Abstract

Introduction: A rising trend has occurred in the physical and mental health challenges faced by recovering UK service personnel. To support these individuals, bespoke inclusive multiactivity and adventurous training courses (MAC) have been developed. This study investigated the MAC’s influence on participants’ ability to sustain day-to-day changes that facilitate positive mental health and psychological need satisfaction. The 146 UK service personnel who participated in this study attended a five-day MAC 12 months ago. To investigate how the supportive experience influenced participants’ lives, quantitative and qualitative data were collected via an online survey. Open-ended questioning and abductive analysis were conducted to understand mechanisms, influential aspects of the course and positive behaviour change. Positive behaviour changes were reported by 74% of the respondents. These changes align with positive psychological well-being (98%). Impactful elements of the course experienced by participants mostly aligned with the three basic psychological needs of autonomy (34%), competence (36%) and relatedness (61%). Recovery support programmes that encompass health coaching adventurous activities, such as the MAC, can initiate long-term positive behaviour change for recovering military personnel. In this specific context, the concurrence of the self-determination theory concepts that underpin the course delivery and participant outcomes is a powerful endorsement of implementation fidelity.

Full Reference

Sutton RJ, Kay CWP, McKenna J, et al. (2021) Sustained positive behaviour change of wounded, injured and sick UK military following an adaptive adventure sports and health coaching recovery course. BMJ Mil Health Published Online. DOI: 10.1136/bmjmilitary-2021-001784.