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Predictors of not working among treatment-seeking UK veterans: a cross-sectional study
  1. Laura Josephine Hendrikx1,
  2. J Ross2,
  3. C Armour2 and
  4. D Murphy1,3
  1. 1Research Department, Combat Stress, Leatherhead, UK
  2. 2Psychology Department, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, UK
  3. 3King’s Centre for Military Health Research, King’s College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr D Murphy, King’s Centre for Military Health Research, King’s College London, London WC2R 2LS, UK; dominic.murphy{at}


Introduction Many veterans do well reintegrating to civilian life following military service. Yet, many face difficulties in finding and securing work. Veterans are more likely than civilians to experience work difficulties, but there remains little research investigating contributing factors, particularly among samples of treatment-seeking veterans. As such, the study examines predictors of not working among UK treatment-seeking veterans.

Design The study employed a cross-sectional design.

Methods Of 667 treatment-seeking UK veterans, 403 (Mage=50.94) provided information on a range of demographic variables, military-related experiences, the total number of physical health conditions and mental health outcomes. Work status was categorised as not working due to illness (Mage=48.15), not working due to other reasons (Mage=61.92) and currently working (Mage= 46.13).

Results Prevalence rates of not working was 69%. Not working was predicted by a greater number of physical health problems as well as more years since leaving the military. Not working due to poor health was independently predicted by symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and younger age, while not working due to other reasons was predicted by older age.

Conclusions The study revealed that treatment-seeking veterans of younger age with a high number of physical health difficulties, symptoms of PTSD and more years since leaving the military are most at risk of not working due to ill health. The findings have important implications for identifying veterans most at risk of not working and offer the opportunity to tailor rehabilitation programmes to promote successful veteran reintegration into civilian life.

  • not working
  • veterans

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  • Contributors DM designed and oversaw the study. LJH wrote the introduction and discussion and contributed to the method. JR conducted the analyses and wrote the method and results. DM, LJH, JR and CA contributed to the reviewing of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval Ethical approval was not obtained for this study because the data used were extracted from a routine service evaluation and all data were anonymised for analysis.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available on reasonable request. Data are not publicly available. Data requests will be considered by the corresponding author.

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