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New Forces in Mind Trust award: Swansea University to research gambling addiction among UK veterans

A grant of £39,478 has been awarded to Swansea University for the very first evaluation of gambling-related problems among UK veterans which will also compare the findings against non-veterans from the general population.

The temptation to gamble while serving in the Armed Forces is widely reported, with many veterans noting that factors such as time spent in solitary accommodation, and living from one pay cheque to the next, can compound the risk of vulnerable individuals developing a gambling addiction.

At present, there are only anecdotal reports of the struggles faced by UK veterans in dealing with a gambling problem; the true nature and extent of the problem remains unknown.  This six-month study seeks to fill the evidence gap by comparing the prevalence of gambling-related problems in veterans serving since the mid-1960s with non-veterans, as well as assessing the potential relationships between gambling-related problems and length of active service, alcohol use and trauma (both during and after deployment). Finding answers to these questions will, for the first time, cast light on the true scale of gambling behaviour among UK veterans.

The research project is led by Dr Simon Dymond, Reader in Psychology at Swansea University, and will be conducted using an existing dataset, the 2007 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey, which is a survey of thousands of community-dwelling adults in England containing a series of questions related to gambling behaviour. The study will also help inform factors that should be included in future health surveys of the UK population.

Dr Dymond said: “Compared with other countries, we actually know very little about the types of gambling-related problems confronted by our Armed Forces veterans. Assessing prevalence among UK veterans is therefore an essential first step in this regard. Indeed, getting a better idea of who is and is not at risk of developing a gambling problem is also important as we seek to improve treatment of this significant public health issue.”

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), said: “Very little is known about the nature and scale of problem gambling among UK veterans. Indeed, and despite frequent popular assertion, there might even be no significant differences from gambling within the general population. This study promises an important insight into the factors that may be associated with, or exacerbate, such behaviour in order to identify who may be most susceptible and under what circumstances.  Such evidence can then be used by policy makers and service deliverers to help identify suitable and timely treatment interventions that ultimately will aid any ex-Service personnel suffering from such issues in their transition to civilian life.”

ENDS

Ray Lock is available for interviews.  To arrange an interview please contact Kerrie Josephs at kjosephs@theproffice.com or on 07788 540 924 or 0207 284 6941 or Kate Turner at kturner@theproffice.com or on 07919 887 036 or 0207 284 6944.

About the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT):

FiMT came about from a partnership between the Big Lottery Fund (‘the Fund’), Cobseo (The Confederation of Service Charities) and other charities and organisations.  FiMT continues the Fund’s long-standing legacy of support for veterans across the UK with an endowment of £35 million awarded in 2012.  http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/.

The mission of FiMT is to enable ex-Service personnel and their families make a successful and sustainable transition to civilian life, and it delivers this mission by generating an evidence base that influences and underpins policy making and service delivery.

FiMT awards grants (for both responsive and commissioned work) to support its change model around 6 outcomes in the following areas: Housing; Employment; Health and wellbeing; Finance; Criminal Justice System; and Relationships.

All work is published in open access and hosted on the Veterans’ Research Hub.  A high standard of reportage is demanded of all grant holders so as to provide a credible evidence base from which better informed decisions can be made.

Useful links

Website: www.fim-trust.org

Reports: www.fim-trust.org/reports/

Who we have helped: www.fim-trust.org/who-we-have-helped/

Twitter: @FIMtrust

Swansea University is a world-class, research-led, dual campus university.  The University was established in 1920 and was the first campus university in the UK.  It currently offers around 330 undergraduate courses and 120 postgraduate courses to 16,800 undergraduate and postgraduate students.

The University’s 46-acre Singleton Park Campus is located in beautiful parkland with views across Swansea Bay.  The University’s 65-acre science and innovation Bay Campus, which opened in September 2015, is located a few miles away on the eastern approach to the city. It has the distinction of having direct access to a beach and its own seafront promenade.  Both campuses are close to the Gower Peninsula, the UK’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The results of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 showed the University has achieved its ambition to be a top 30 research University, soaring up the league table to 26th in the UK, with the ‘biggest leap among research-intensive institutions’ (Times Higher Education, December 2014) in the UK.

The University has ambitious expansion plans as it moves towards its centenary in 2020, as it continues to extend its global reach and moves closer to realising its ambition of being a top 200 Global University.

Swansea University is a registered charity. No.1138342. Visit www.swansea.ac.uk.

For more information please contact Swansea University Public Relations Office, email: press@swansea.ac.uk, or call 01792 295050.

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