Researching the demands on Reservists and their families

Friday, 06 January 2017

Reservists and families

In line with many other publicly funded organisations, the Armed Forces are facing challenges to their traditional working practices. The UK Armed Forces are moving towards a whole force structure to better integrate regular and reserve personnel.

By 2020 Reservists will make up at least one in four of the UK Armed Forces military personnel and more flexible working practices will be introduced to be compatible with a more diverse and family-friendly workforce.

This means the current fixed boundaries between full time and part time employees will become blurred.

Professor Vincent Connelly, Programme Lead for Psychology at Oxford Brookes University, is working with colleagues from other universities to investigate the impact of these policy changes on the lives and families of Reservists. He discusses this research.

Our previous work has demonstrated that Reservists are often operating on the margins of military establishment, their family life and their employment, and so there is a need to better understand these factors and how they intersect.

In particular the families of Reservists have not been studied as extensively as those of full-time personnel.

In particular the families of Reservists have not been studied as extensively as those of full-time personnel. Therefore, little is known about how families negotiate the demands of reservist service or access effective support and resources when required.

Professor Vincent Connelly, Programme Lead Psychology, Oxford Brookes University

Therefore, little is known about how families negotiate the demands of reservist service or access effective support and resources when required.

Reservists’ perceptions of marginal status in the Armed Forces also leads Reservists, often more than regulars, to keep their service and family life separate – further compounding a lack of awareness of support available amongst their family members

Separateness also means that Reservist family members are less likely to see themselves as members of the wider service community and may feel less entitled to ask for help.

As the Reservist family is often not near any large military base with on-site support provision, this separation is both physical and psychological.

You can read more detail about this research project in the Autumn 2016 edition of Research Forum magazine.

REA logo 2016

If you have a family member who is a UK Armed Forces Reservist and would like to take part in a survey or focus group related to this research and find out more information visit www.frame-sw.org.uk

Professor Vincent Connelly is a recipient of the University’s inaugural Research Excellence Awards and the funding is supporting him to undertake this work. The Awards were launched last year as part of Oxford Brookes’ commitment to supporting research-active academics and in supporting the aims of the recently revised  Research and Knowledge Exchange Strategy 2016-2020.

Keep reading the University’s news pages for further information on the winners of the Research Excellence Awards.