The Experience of Homecoming for U.K. Army Reservists, Following Prolonged Military Mobilisation: A Mixed Methods IPA & Q Sort Study

Prof Doc Thesis

Fairweather, L. 2018. The Experience of Homecoming for U.K. Army Reservists, Following Prolonged Military Mobilisation: A Mixed Methods IPA & Q Sort Study. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsFairweather, L.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Background. There is a move towards increased use of Reservists for all aspects of U.K. military operations. The dominant research focus looks for the link between
increased military service and negative outcomes and has suggested that Reservists are especially prone to problems of adjustment on homecoming. Research in to the effects
of homecoming on Reservists was found to be a neglected topic in the literature.
Research question. The aim of this research was to explore how members of the United Kingdom Army Reserve experience returning to civilian life (homecoming), following a period of prolonged military mobilization.
Method. A mixed methods approach was utilized. Firstly, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was conducted on six Reservists, in order to understand their personal experiences of homecoming. Q Methodology was then
selected for the second phase, using the IPA themes as the primary source for the Q Set. A Q Sort was conducted with 20 Reservists, in order to deliver the shared subjective
viewpoints pertaining to homecoming.
Results. Six themes emerged from the IPA phase, describing homecoming in terms of; activities, adjustment, culture, emotions, reflection and values. The Q Sort phase
distilled the six themes into four homecoming factors: reflection on personal growth; adjustment, not stress; sense making and personal circumstances.
Conclusions. The experience of participating on military operations was generally found to be developmental, supporting the concept of post-traumatic growth. Minimal
adjustment issues were reported on homecoming relating to experiences on operations. However, some participants reported partners and close family members could be adversely affected. Also, any homecoming issues were more as a consequence of other pre-existing factors.

KeywordsReservists stress; Army; Armed Forces; military; mobilization; deployment; operations; adjustment; reintegration; stress; post-traumatic stress; resilience; post-traumatic growth; social identity; family; phenomenology; IPA; Q methodology; Q Sort
PublisherUniversity of East London
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PrintMay 2018
Publication process dates
Deposited26 Nov 2019
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