Current Students and Staff

// University News

3 Jun 2015

Reconstructing notions of military masculinity can benefit veterans’ mental health and wellbeing, new research reveals

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Breaking down the barriers associated with stoic military masculinity can help boost the health and wellbeing of combat veterans, a Loughborough University study has revealed.

Nick Caddick, Research Associate at the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, examined how a group of male combat veterans spoke about masculinity and how, following post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), they enacted masculinities in accordance with the values that were acquired during military service.

Nick conducted 24 interviews with 16 veterans[1] over an 18-month period at a veterans’ charity called Surf Action, in Penzance. Aged between 27 and 60 years, the men learned to surf and socialise with other veterans, and this provided them with temporary respite from PTSD symptoms like nightmares, flashbacks, severe depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.

It is estimated that 6.9 per cent of UK combat soldiers will go on to suffer significant distress as a result of their service.

The results of the study showed the various and sometimes contradictory ways in which ‘masculinity’ shaped the veterans’ lives.

Read the press release for more information.

[1] The veterans had served in a range of conflicts from the Falklands and Northern Ireland through to the most recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. While only 10 had been diagnosed with PTSD, all the participants referred to themselves as living with the disorder.