If they only knew: investigating the public’s perceptions of issues facing Canadian military members transitioning back into civilian society

Date

2017-10-04

Authors

Meikle, Nicholas James

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Abstract

Research on military health indicates that some members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) experience challenges during their military-to-civilian (MTC) transition(s). This novel study explored the Canadian public’s perceptions of the issues facing CAF members during their transition back into civilian society. Its significance is in its unique results and contribution to a previously unexplored topic within research on MTC transitions. A cross-sectional survey was administered via structured in-person interviews with 100 Canadian civilians not affiliated with the military. Results included civilian participants’ accurate as well as inaccurate perceptions about MTC transition issues compared to existing literature on veterans’ transition experiences. Participants underestimated issues regarding transitioning CAF members’ social networks and overestimated PTSD as the biggest struggle facing CAF members during their MTC transitions. Though participants accurately perceived that CAF members experience struggles during their transition, they overestimated the level of transition difficulty as reported by CAF members (Black & Papile, 2010; Life After Service Survey, 2014). Further research is recommended to examine the public’s perceptions of MTC transition issues and to better understand the potential implications of civilians’ perceptions on transitioning CAF members.

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Keywords

perception, public perception, military, veteran, armed forces, transition, civilians, survey, structured interview, Canadian

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