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Veterans’ Experiences of Successfully Managing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>27/05/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Mental Health Review Journal
Issue number2
Volume26
Number of pages14
Pages (from-to)197-210
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date1/04/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Purpose
Prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) amongst UK veterans is higher than in the general population. However, prevalence figures do not reflect the complexity of this phenomenon and ways in which it may be bound up with veterans’ experiences of adjusting to civilian life. The purpose of this study was to explore veterans’ experiences of successfully managing PTSD.

Design/methodology/approach
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with six veterans who had served in the UK armed forces, and analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis.

Findings
Three themes were developed: (1) accepting the problem, taking responsibility and gaining control; (2) talking to the right people; and (3) strategies, antidotes and circling back around. Managing PTSD appeared to be bound up with veterans’ experience of renegotiating their identity, where positive aspects of identity lost on leaving the military were rebuilt, and problematic aspects were challenged. Participants sought to speak about their difficulties with others who understood the military context. They felt that their experiences made them a valuable resource to others, and they connected this with a positive sense of identity and value.

Practical implications
The findings suggest the importance of wider provision of peer support, and education for civilian health services on veterans’ needs.

Originality/value
This study adds to our understanding of what meaningful recovery from PTSD may involve for veterans, in particular its potential interconnectedness with the process of adjusting to civilian life.

Bibliographic note

This article is (c) Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here. Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.