The mediating role of resilience on psychopathology following childhood adversities among UK armed forces veterans residing in Northern Ireland

Margaret Mc Lafferty, Emily McGlinchey, Aine Travers, Cherie Armour

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Abstract

Background: Childhood adversities can have a deleterious impact on mental health. Elevated levels of such adversities have been reported in veteran populations. Levels of resilience may be protective but early adverse experiences may impact on the development of resilience in the first instance.
Objective: This study aims to identify classes of childhood adversities among UK military veterans residing in Northern Ireland (NI) and explore levels of resilience and the mediating role resilience may play following such experiences in relation to mental health.
Method: The study utilizes data from the Northern Ireland Veterans’ Health and Wellbeing Study (n = 656). All participants were UK Armed Forces veterans who were residents of NI with an average age of 56 (586 males, 70 females).
Results: Four childhood adversity classes were revealed, with almost a half of the sample experiencing early adverse experiences. Individuals who experienced a range of adversities, particularly those related to maltreatment were more likely to have PSTD, depression and anxiety disorders and lower levels of resilience. However, those who experienced adversity related to family dysfunction had similar levels of resilience as the low risk class, suggesting tentatively that some adversity may be protective. Mediation analyses revealed that veterans
with elevated levels of resilience were less likely to have psychological problems following negative childhood experiences.
Conclusions: The study highlights the importance of promoting resilience building programmes among military veterans, especially among those who experienced maltreatment as a child.
Original languageEnglish
Article number978176
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Psychotraumatology
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2021

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