It is well known that alcohol problems are more common in the UK military than in the rest of the population. Levels of alcohol consumption and binge drinking (drinking lots of alcohol in a short space of time) are almost twice as high. But levels of drinking do not seem to decrease when someone leaves the UK Armed Forces. Previously, a number of research studies suggest that personnel in the UK Armed Forces drink more than the general population.
Research has shown that electronic interventions (such as computer or mobile phone applications), which aim to help someone lower the amount they drink, can be helpful. These treatments which have been developed for the general population may also be suitable for people from the military, but it is likely that some changes will need to be made.
The aim of this research is to develop an electronic intervention, which can be delivered through a mobile phone app, to help people leaving the UK Armed Forces to lower their alcohol consumption and to drink less in a single session. The study objectives are: 1) to look at the reasons why people who are currently in, or leaving, the UK Armed Forces drink heavily; 2) to use this information to design a mobile phone application that is relevant and meaningful to the ex-serving military population, and so should help them to reduce their drinking, and 3) to test if this intervention is acceptable to a small number of ex-serving personnel and to find out how they think that it could be improved. Once these questions have been answered then it should be possible to test the intervention with a larger number of people.
The benefits of this research are that it can help us understand why people in the UK Armed Forces drink heavily and why they don't lower their drinking when they leave. This information will be relevant to a number of organisations, such as health services and veterans' charities. It will also help us to develop a treatment that is more likely to be successful, because it will be more relevant to these individuals. There are lots of possible benefits to reducing the amount ex-service people drink; it can help to lower the risk of many conditions such as liver disease and cancer, it can improve how productive people are in their daily lives and can lower the number of times people visit their doctor with alcohol related injuries and illness. As well as benefitting the individuals, these changes could also save money for employers and public services.
The study team conducting this research has a wealth of experience in Psychology, Addictions, Epidemiology, and Informatics.
Lecturer in Epidemiology - University of Liverpool
Professor of Psychology - University of Liverpool
Professor of Addiction Psychiatry - King's College London
Professor of Public Health Medicine - King's College London
Professor of Epidemiology - King's College London
Lecturer in Telecommunications - King's College London
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