Article Text


MS Military service: health, wellbeing and social integration
Social exclusion amongst UK ex-service personnel based on measures of employment
  1. Richard J Pinder,
  2. Dominic Murphy,
  3. Amy C Iversen,
  4. Simon Wessely,
  5. Nicola T Fear
  1. King's College, London, UK


Objectives For some individuals leaving the Armed Forces, the return to civilian life can be problematic. Social exclusion describes a process of detachment from normal participation in the activities of society. This study aims to identify risk factors associated with social exclusion amongst ex-service personnel, using measures of employment.

Methods A telephone study of serving and ex-serving personnel (n=821) drawn from the King's cohort study of UK military personnel (n=10272), asked those who had left the military questions regarding their employment history and experiences since leaving the military. A composite variable was formed using employment measures, which identified a socially excluded group. These individuals were compared to a group in stable employment.

Results 215 ex-service personnel were included. 35 (7.5%) were unemployed at the time of interview. 78 (29.3%) were classified as socially excluded. Two groups were identified as being at highest risk of social exclusion: those leaving after a shorter period of service (adjusted OR 0.89, 95% CI 0.79-0.99), and those leaving after completing a full term of service (adjusted OR 14.05, 95% CI 2.78-71.06). Those with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder were less likely to experience social exclusion (adjusted OR 0.20, 95% CI 0.06-0.67).

Conclusions Military service is a positive experience for the majority, however a small group of individuals who are compulsorily discharged for completing their term of service or for other reasons, fare worse in the context of social exclusion as measured by employment.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.