Rest and recuperation in the UK Armed Forces

Laura Parsloe, Norman Jones, Mohammed Fertout, Olga Luzon, Neil Greenberg

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Background Recent epidemiological evidence suggests that military personnel commonly remain psychologically resilient in the face of adversity they face on deployment. However, the processes that promote resilience have not been well assessed within the UK military. For many years, the UK Armed Forces have operated a policy of rest and recuperation (R&R), which refers to the brief period during which troops return home when on an operational tour of duty. While R&R is thought to play an import ant role in promoting recovery and well-being, there is as yet no empirical evidence to support its effectiveness. Aims To explore whether R&R promotes well-being and recovery from the strains of deployment in military personnel. Methods Participants completed self-report measures of mental health and exposure to potentially traumatic events (PTEs), as well as an R&R Recovery Questionnaire (R&RRQ). Results Statistical analysis indicated that the R&RRQ was a reliable measure within the sample of 97 subjects. Participants who reported recovery following R&R reported fewer symptoms of mental health difficulties. However, increased deployment exposure to PTEs was associated with feeling less recovered at the end of R&R. Conclusions These preliminary data suggest that R&R can be useful for troops if they can use the time to recover. This study’s results are relevant to policymakers and leaders in the military and other groups placed in challenging environments but more work is needed to understand how R&R works and to maximize its capacity to promote well-being among military personnel.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)616-621
Number of pages6
JournalOccupational Medicine
Issue number8
Early online date3 Sept 1983
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014

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