This is my current thesis abstract, as I look towards submission by mid-June:
This research has been conducted and produced for two principal reasons. Firstly, it has been to enable me, as an armed forces’ veteran, to understand my perceived difficulties in transitioning from military to civilian life, and to attempt to mitigate them. More importantly, and in terms of wider contribution, it is to make recommendations as to how current support to armed forces leavers can be enhanced. This is motivated by a recent UK parliamentary report, bolstered by a raft of academic and grey research, that argues that military to civilian transition requires scholarly reinforcement. The study determines that such input, in order to have practical impact, must take into account the unique nature of the military career environment, which can be complicated by the manifold physical and emotional stressors inherent in military service and life, including for families. This demands not just intellectual acumen, but effective intervention.
This thesis’ conclusions and recommendations are derived from an autoethnographic exploration of my own military to civilian transition and its assessment in light of pertinent research. My resulting narrative is analysed using Schlossberg’s (2011) ‘4 S’ transition framework to determine key challenges, and to judge to what extent an identity crisis is central to this. The accompanying function is to examine how narrative review, and possibly repair, might provide a more resilient ‘transition bridge’ by integrating past experience with present circumstances, and assessing future possibilities based on that.
The objective is to indicate how this might ease the transitionary process by way of incorporating narrative approaches into an enhanced psycho-educational support package for military leavers and close family members as appropriate. Accordingly, this research outlines how that might take place, and provides a personal example of how narrative review and repair has been used, in order to illustrate its potential impact.