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Military Lives and Transformative Experiences: Exploring narratives and veterans' well-being

Project: Funded ProjectResearch

1/10/17 → …

Research shows that sharing narratives about life events can benefit people with mental health problems. Being able to tell a coherent story about the self helps people to make sense of their lives and improves well-being. Similarly, reading about shared experiences has also been identified as having well-being benefits. This project explores these ideas with the aged veteran population, who often have poor well-being. Veterans’ poor mental health and low levels of well-being are of serious concern to individuals and service providers, with support services currently unable to meet demand. Our research explores how narratives may improve veterans’ wellbeing, using narrative interviews and workshops to mediate encounters between veterans and autobiographical texts. The aim is to identify what benefit aged veterans find in exploring these self-told and shared narratives. Using prompts from classic martial autobiographies to frame discussions, we will increase understanding of the well-being of aged veterans, and inform future interventions. We approach conceptualisations of well-being from a philosophical and sociological standpoint, working interdisciplinarily to increase understanding.

The study is part of the Royal British Legion Aged Veterans Healthy Living Portfolio and has their support.

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