Sep 8, 2016
The Forces in Mind Trust commissioned RAND Europe to conduct a systematic review of literature on UK Service leaver families' into civilian life. The study examined the evidence base across four thematic areas: engagement with families, family breakdown, family housing and spousal employment. The review identifies areas where evidence is lacking and presents a series of recommendations for future research.
Each year, approximately 17,000 personnel leave the UK Armed Forces and return to civilian life. The Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) has called for better transition support in order to assist Service leavers and their families in leading successful civilian lives.
FiMT conducted a stakeholder engagement programme in 2015 to identify areas where Service leaver families could be more effectively supported in the transition process. Building on this research, RAND Europe was commissioned to conduct a systematic review to help FiMT better understand the evidence base across four thematic areas: family engagement, family breakdown, family housing and spousal employment.
The main aims of the review were to:
The study was conducted through a systematic review of academic literature and a thematic review of grey literature. Despite the comprehensive scope of the review, evidence was found to be limited across the four review areas. Very little source material focused specifically on transition in the UK: most studies appeared to look at deployments and Service life in the US setting.
The review found that in order to better engage with families in transition, there is a need for a stronger evidence base that systematically investigates the issues faced by Service leaver families. Based on the evidence gaps identified, recommendations were developed for research funders and researchers, as well as for the Ministry of Defence, public bodies and other service providers.
There was a shortage of UK literature on transition into civilian life.
Definitional gaps make comparisons challenging.
The literature was characterised by a heavy health focus and with gaps across all four areas.
Key evidence gaps and recommendations for future research directions
Systematic review search strategy
Systematic review data extraction form
Grey literature search strategy
Selected grey literature sources