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.
Veterans’ lived experiences of military service, and recovery from problem gambling
Over the past decade, gambling, and its related harms, have been consistently highlighted as a growing public health challenge. Parallel to this, research concerning the transition from Armed Forces service to civilian life, and life in ”civvy street” thereafter,’ ‘has identified that veterans are more prone to developing common mental health conditions (e.g., anxiety, depression, and PTSD). Critically, those leaving the Armed Forces have been found to have an increased disposition to developing risky behaviours (e.g., dangerous driving, drug and alcohol abuse, and excessive gambling) compared to their civilian counterparts. International evidence has identified increased problem gambling prevalence rates compared to the general populations in respective countries.
This presentation will review the extant literature on gambling within the UK veterans’ community and highlight the implications and limitations of the currently exiguous research field. Findings from recent qualitative interviews, conducted with UK veterans in recovery from gambling disorder and their close family members, will be used throughout to augment the review of the current, UK-based literature. To close an overview of how research horizons are being expanded, through collaborative working with research partners from across the UK, will be exhibited.