The relationship between traumatic injury and mental health diagnoses is still not well understood, and mental health outcomes among military personnel with physical, combat-related injuries remain poorly described. At present there are no studies describing the mental health morbidity of UK Armed Forces Personnel following physical combat-related injury. This unique study comprehensively explores post-traumatic stress disorder, common mental disorders and alcohol use disorder, and assesses psychological resilience in that group. This prospective study of 199 UKAF personnel admitted to the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC) utilises a range of self-report measures to assess the prevalence of PTSD, CMD and AUD on admission, in addition to reported levels of Hardiness and Psychological Resilience. Statistical analysis of this data, using Pearson's Chi-Square and Odds Ratio (OR) calculations was conducted to explore relationships between the primary outcome variables and a range of sociodemographic, military, physical (injury) and psychological factors. The study achieved an overall response rate of 56.28% (n=101). 11.9% (n=12) of participants met the criteria for PTSD, 66.7% (n=66) met the criteria for CMD and 41.6% (n=37) met the criteria for hazardous drinking. Exploration of the relationships between the primary outcome variables and additional factors highlights a number of statistically significant associations for CMD, PTI, AUD, and of hardiness and psychological resilience. Significantly higher levels of PTSD, CMD and AUD, and a high degree of comorbidity between PTSD and CMD were observed in this population when compared with the general UK Armed Forces population. The long-term management of the mental health of UK Armed Forces Personnel following physical, combat-related injury is complex and challenging. This important study provides a valuable insight into that group and presents a number of policy and clinical recommendations intended to facilitate positive outcomes in the longer term.
FORBES, K. 2021. An investigation of the mental health and psychological resilience of UK armed forces personnel following physical combat-related injury in Afghanistan (Operation Herrick) between 2009 and 2011. Robert Gordon University, PhD thesis. Hosted on OpenAIR [online]. Available from: https://doi.org/10.48526/rgu-wt-1677963