Frequently Asked Questions
What is the study about?
Why am I being asked to take part?
This is the third phase of our long-term study investigating the health and well-being of serving and ex-serving regular and reserve UK Armed Forces personnel. The study began in 2003 and nearly 17,000 people have taken part in the first two phases.
The study aims to find out more about your experiences on, and the effects of, deployment, as well as finding out more about the pluses and minuses of military life in general. We are interested in your experiences during your military career and after you have left to return to civilian life. Findings from our study are regularly reported in the press and have been used to shape policies.
Some of the findings from the first and second phase of the study can be found in our 'Latest Newsletter'.
What does taking part involve?
Some of you will have already taken part in our study and it is really important that we continue to follow you up to see if your health is the same or has changed.
Some of you will be new to the study, having joined the military in the last few years. Your participation is important in making sure the study remains relevant today.
What are the benefits of taking part?
Taking part involves completing a questionnaire which asks about your military background and deployment experiences. It also asks about health and lifestyle, accidents and injuries, and relationships and families. If you are a reservist, there are some questions about your employment, and if you have left the military there are some questions about your experiences since leaving.
The questionnaire should take no more than 40 minutes to complete, but may take less as not all sections will be relevant to you.
To participate online, click here.
To request a paper copy of the questionnaire, please contact us.
I feel well. Would you still like me to take part?
Taking part will allow us to gain a greater understanding of the positive and negative aspects of service in the Armed Forces, and the needs of serving and ex-serving personnel. This will be of benefit to military personnel, now, and in the future.
The results of our research have already played a part in shaping MoD policy, benefiting you and others like you. For instance: the increase in X-factor payments and the introduction of the operational bonus; the decision not to increase tour length from an average of six months (apart from operational draw-down tours) and the development of mental health support programmes such as TRiM and Decompression.
Yes, we would like to hear from you regardless of whether you are well or have some health concerns.
I have not deployed recently. Would you still like me to take part?
I have left the Armed Forces. Would you still like me to take part?
Yes, we would like to hear from you regardless of whether you have deployed recently or not. We are interested to know about the pluses and minuses of military life in general, so it's not just about deployment.
Do I have to take part?
Yes, we would like to hear from you regardless of whether you have left the Armed Forces or not. We are interested to know more about how people do when they leave service.
What will happen to the information I provide in the questionnaire?
Participation is voluntary, and you are under no obligation to take part. However, for our results to be valid, it is important for us to hear from as many people as possible, and so your participation counts.
Will you be linking my data to other sources?
Only the research team will have access to the personal information you provide in the questionnaire. Information will be stored securely. The information you provide in your questionnaire will be stored separately to your personal details (whether you choose to complete the paper or online versions). We may share completely anonymised datasets with other research institutions. However, we will never release any questionnaire data which contains any information that would identify you. We will also not pass your contact details to any third parties.
We may need to obtain additional details from your records to help our research. In order to do so, we may need to use your name, date of birth and NHS number to request your health records from central/national information centres (for example, your medical records if you have consented for us to do so). We will NOT pass any of your contact details(address, email address or phone number) to third parties including the MoD.
The overall findings and results of the study will be published, but individual responses will be entirely confidential. Records will be held for 20 years and you have the right of access to your records at any time.
Who is funding the study?
A data linkage is when one source of information (data) is merged with another source to provide additional information about individuals. This can only be done if you have the same identifiers (such as name and NHS number) in both sources of information.
1. We would like to carry out a data linkage with the third phase of the Health and Well-being study and offence records from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) Police National Computer (PNC) database and the Service Police Crime Bureau (SPCB) REDCAP database. This study will aim to identify the prevalence and risk factors associated with offending in the community by serving and ex-serving UK military personnel both during service (using the REDCAP database) and post-service (using the PNC).
This study will involve a secure data linkage of your personal identifiers (first and last name, sex and date of birth) to both the PNC and REDCAP offence databases. We will send your name, sex and date of birth along with a unique identification code to the organisations (MoJ for PNC and SPCB for REDCAP) so they may send us the electronic offence records. None of your questionnaire responses will be sent to these organisations. Both organisations will conduct the linkage securely and send us the requested data with all personal identifiers (name, sex and date of birth) removed. We will be able to link these datasets to your questionnaire responses using the unique identification code.
For details about the full process of the data linkage please click here to view the data flow diagram which shows what will happen to your data.
If you have participated in the third phase of the Health and Well-Being Study and have further questions or would not like us to link your information you are free to opt out of this study by contacting the KCMHR research team or the Principal Investigator for this study, Ms Jamie Kwan (firstname.lastname@example.org).
2. We would like to carry out a data linkage with your medical records but only if you have given us consent to do so during previous phases of the Health and Well-being study.
This study will involve a data linkage of your personal identifiers (name, date of birth and NHS number) to your hospital records (for those of you who have consented to this). We will apply for your hospital records from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC; England), the Information Services Division (ISD; Scotland) and the Secure Anonymised Linkage Databank (SAIL; Wales).
We will send your name, date of birth and NHS number (and not your questionnaire responses) to these organisations so that they can send us the electronic hospital records. They will send the data back to us with all personal identifiers (name, date of birth and NHS number) removed and we will be able to link this back to your questionnaire responses using a unique identification code. This process will NOT involve sending your questionnaire responses to HSCIC, ISD or SAIL.
If you would like to find out more information about this data linkage study, then please click here to be taken to the study homepage. For details about the full process of this data linkage, please click here to view this diagram which shows what will happen to your data.
You will only be included in this data linkage study if you have previously provided consent for us to access your medical records when you completed the phase 1 or 2 Health and Well-being Study questionnaire.
If you have any questions or you have now changed your mind, then you are free to opt out of this study by contacting the KCMHR research team or the Principal Investigator for this study, Dr Laura Goodwin (email@example.com).
The study is funded by the UK Ministry of Defence. However, the research team is fully independent of the Ministry of Defence.
Has this study been reviewed?
Who can I contact with questions or comments?
The study has received ethical approval from the King's College London Psychiatry, Nursing and Midwifery Research Ethics Committee Ref: PNM/12/13-169), and the Ministry of Defence Research Ethics Committee Ref: 448/MODREC/13).
You can call us on 020 7848 5351, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to us at KCMHR, Weston Education Centre, King’s College London, Cutcombe Rd, London, SE5 9RJ.
If your question has not been answered, more information can be found in the Participant Information Sheet, available through the link on the right.