The mental health and well-being of women in the UK Armed Forces

June, 2012

This doctoral thesis explores mental and physical health problems among female personnel and examines the interplay between these problems and factors such as work, family and relationships.


A mixed methods approach was used, integrating qualitative and quantitative approaches across several stages of the research. Quantitative data came from female participants (n=1185) who responded to a postal survey questionnaire as part of a cohort study of UK military personnel. This provided the sampling frame for the qualitative study, which included 41 in-depth interviews with purposefully selected participants. While no statistical impact of deployment or parenthood on health was found overall, the interviews identified a far broader array of stressors, protective factors, and outcomes not measureable from the survey data. In particular, the importance of interpersonal factors on well-being and career intentions among women was emphasised. Sources of stress from three main domains were explored: deployment, parenthood, and integration.

Full Reference

Woodhead, C. (2013). The mental health and well-being of women in the UK Armed Forces. Doctoral thesis, King's College London.

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