Leading civilian UK centre of excellence for military health research

For over a century, women in the UK Armed Forces have been integral to our national defense. Despite their longstanding service, research focused on women veterans, particularly regarding alcohol use and misuse, remains scarce. This highlights a critical gap in our understanding of their unique experiences and needs

The majority of research exploring the impact of alcohol consumption in veterans is focused on men, and we know from the existing, albeit limited evidence, that alcohol use in ex-serving women is substantially higher than that of their civilian counterparts.

We know that problematic alcohol use often co-occurs with common mental health disorders including depression, anxiety, and PTSD which are more prevalent in women veterans than in the general population, and alcohol is often used to self-medicate and cope with negative internal states. Research further indicates that there are a number of barriers to accessing mental health support for ex-serving women, often due to ongoing alcohol use.

Digital health innovations

Digital health technologies, like smartphone apps, offer promising avenues for delivering brief interventions, bypassing geographic barriers, long treatment waiting lists, and stigma linked to in-person assistance. They hold potential for advancing gender equity by empowering individuals with control over their health data, expanding healthcare access, and addressing specific challenges more prevalent for women, such as childcare. However, the development of these digital health interventions often lacks a gender equity perspective, a crucial aspect that needs addressing.

A digital platform to support women veterans

To address these gaps, we are conducting a study testing multiple digital platforms to support women veterans manage their alcohol use. Each platform has been developed incorporating feedback and guidance from focus groups with women veterans and charities to be tailored to the unique needs of women veterans.

Get involved

We will be starting recruitment on the 8th of January 2024, so be sure to check back nearer the time, or if you're interested in being on our list, please do get in touch.

We are seeking to recruit individuals who are veterans of the UK Armed Forces, identify as female, live in the United Kingdom, use a smartphone, drink alcohol, and are willing to take part for 12-weeks. You can read the participant information sheet here.

At the end of the study, participants who complete the final questionnaire will receive a £20 Love2Shop voucher as a thank you for taking part.

Want to know more?

If you would like to know more about the study, please do get in touch at [email protected]. Please share our study widely with colleagues and anyone who might be interested.

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