Uni to conduct armed services wellbeing research program

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

The University of Adelaide's Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies will lead Australia's most comprehensive research program to investigate the mental health and wellbeing of contemporary armed service personnel and veterans.

Launched at the University today by the Minister for Veterans' Affairs, Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson, the $5 million Transition and Wellbeing Research Programme will examine the impact of military service on the mental, physical and social health of serving and ex-serving personnel and their families who have deployed to contemporary conflicts.

The program is supported with funding from the departments of Veterans' Affairs ($3.8 million) and Defence ($1.2 million).

The first of two major studies will be conducted by the Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies, while the third will be conducted by the Australian Institute of Family Studies.

The first study, the Mental Health and Wellbeing Transition Study, will target both serving and ex-serving personnel to determine their mental, physical and social health.

The second study, the Impact of a Combat Zone Study, will follow up the mental, physical and neuro-cognitive health of personnel who deployed to the Middle East Area of Operations between 2010 and 2012.

The third study, the Family and Wellbeing Study, will investigate the impact of military service on the health and wellbeing of the families of serving and ex-serving personnel.

Research manager Dr Miranda Van Hooff, from the University's Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies, said that over the past four years the centre had developed specific knowledge and expertise in the health needs and challenges facing ADF personnel.

"To best understand the health needs of our contemporary veterans, the next step is to closely monitor their health and wellbeing in the years immediately following transition from full-time ADF service," Dr Van Hooff said.

"We know that from the 2010 ADF Mental Health Prevalence and Wellbeing study that ADF members are at an increased risk of developing disorders such as depression (6.4% versus 3.1%) and post-traumatic stress disorder (8.3% vs 5.2%) compared with the broader Australian community.

"The prevalence of disorder in ex-serving ADF personnel, however, is currently unknown," she said.

Dr Van Hooff said the research would enable the centre to "answer some important questions relating to how mental health issues change over time, as well as the risk and protective factors which influence the health and wellbeing of serving and ex-serving personnel".


Contact Details

Dr Miranda Van Hooff
Email: miranda.vanhooff@adelaide.edu.au
Website: http://health.adelaide.edu.au/population-health/ctss/
Research Manager, Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies
School of Population Health
The University of Adelaide
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Mobile: 0412 189 624

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Mr David Ellis
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