Making sense of life narratives
: the perspectives of British armed forces ex-service personnel

  • Kim V. Gordon

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Introduction: Military psychology literature tends to focus particularly on combat-related service (Gordon, 2014). There are long-term consequences of wellbeing related to service in addition to normal ageing concerns. The characteristics of military veteran populations also change over time due to the historical context of their service. Since 2012, there has been increased interest in British Armed Forces military serving and ex-service personnel and the advantages and disadvantages of their military service. This thesis aimed to explore what sense British Armed Forces ex-service personnel made of their experiences and whether they perceived significant impact of their experiences over the lifespan. Method: 30 participant interviews with ex-service personnel were collected and data were analysed using Narrative Analysis and Thematic Analysis. Findings: participants expressed concerns about quality of life, mental health and the significance of pre- during- and post-service events on themselves and their families. Conclusion: Narratives of experiences adds valuable detail to current research in this field, and helps to highlight the broader psychosocial and practical concerns of UK ex-service personnel and the members of their familial and social network. This thesis presents current and potential implications for the welfare of veterans, their network, and informs providers of and stakeholders in the wellbeing of future ex-service personnel populations.
Date of AwardOct 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Portsmouth
SupervisorKaren Burnell (Supervisor), Clare Wilson (Supervisor) & Kim Bown (Supervisor)

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