While most UK Service leavers experience successful transitions to civilian life, some face challenges including ill health, unemployment, debt and homelessness. In 2016, the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) ran a consultation on Life Transitions that identified individual resilience as an important driver of successful transition. Building on this engagement, FiMT has commissioned RAND Europe to conduct a systematic review of the literature on the effect of Service leavers’ resilience on transition pathways and outcomes.


The study aims at building a comprehensive understanding of ‘resilience’ and ‘transition’, and at improving understanding of how resilience can affect transition outcomes for Service leavers.


To support these overarching objectives, the study will focus on five research questions:

  1. What is the extent of the literature on resilience and transition from military to civilian life, and what are the main findings?
  2. What Service leaver ‘types’ can be identified, and how can these groups be categorised?
  3. What are the challenges faced by (i) different Service leaver types and (ii) comparator groups in different sectors and contexts?
  4. How does our analysis of Service leaver challenges inform our wider understanding of resilience and transition?
  5. What research gaps exist and what areas for future research can be identified?

These research questions will be addressed through a systematic review and a Rapid Evidence Assessment of academic and grey literature.

Research team

Alex Hall

Kate Cox

Katerina Galai

Sarah Grand-Clement

Richard Flint

Agnes Gereben Schaefer

Jody Larkin