Glen Dighton is currently a Research Assistant for the UK Armed Forces Veterans Health and Gambling Study at the Department of Psychology, Swansea University, Wales. Holding a Master’s degree in Research Methods in Psychology, with a focus on motivational psychology, and procrastination and perfectionism’s role in cognitive behavioural therapy interventions, Glen’s research interests grew to include behavioural addictions. Growing up in Hampshire, Glen’s working background in secure forensic psychiatric services led to close contact working with a number ex-Armed Forces service users, fostering an interest in Armed Forces veterans issues, services, and mental health provision. This eventually led onto Glen’s undertaking of a PhD in Psychology thesis examining the impact of problem gambling on UK Armed Forces veterans, and their families to be completed by the end of 2019.
Gambling on Civvy Street: Assessing the impact of gambling related problems on UK Armed Forces veterans and their families
Research during the past decade has shown that, during transition from Armed Forces service to civilian life, or ‘civvy street,’ veterans are at an increased risk of developing risky behaviours (e.g., alcohol and drug abuse, and excessive gambling) and are more prone to developing mental health conditions (e.g., depression, anxiety, and PTSD). With international and widespread anecdotal evidence suggesting UK Armed Forces veterans may suffer from a ‘hidden’ gambling problem, no research has yet focused on this in the UK.
This programme of PhD research utilised a mixed methods approach to analyse the impact of gambling related problems on UK Armed Forces veterans and their families. Comprising a secondary data analysis, an exploratory prevalence survey, two behavioural experiments into impulsivity and risk/reward decision-making, and semi-structured interviews of veterans and close family members, this programme of research highlights the far-reaching effects of gambling within this vulnerable population.