Largest investigation into the health & wellbeing effects of contemporary military service

2 Jun 2015

Minister for Veterans Affairs & Assistant Minister for Defence Joint Release dated 2 June 2015

This week marks the beginning of Australia’s most comprehensive study into the impact of contemporary military service on the health and wellbeing of serving and ex-serving Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel.

Announcing the opening of the Transition & Wellbeing Research Programme survey, the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson, and Assistant Minister for Defence, the Hon. Stuart Robert MP, today said invitations to around 50,000 potential participants would be sent out from this week.

“The Transition & Wellbeing Research Programme is the largest study of this kind ever to be undertaken and a ‘first’ in many ways,” Senator Ronaldson said.
“It is the first Australian study to examine the physical, social and mental health of an entire cohort of recently transitioned ADF members. And it has the potential to be Australia’s largest study to examine the health and wellbeing of the families of serving and ex-serving ADF members.”

In addition, Mr Robert said the research programme would be the first to examine the long-term psychological, biological and neurocognitive outcomes of deployment to the Middle East Area of Operations.
“The Government is committed to learning more about the longer term effects of high risk roles,” Mr Robert said. “And for the first time we will examine the health and wellbeing of ADF Reservists.”

The findings of the Departments of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) and Defence joint research will be used to inform and improve health services provided to serving and ex-serving ADF personnel, and to support their families.

As an example of research leading to better services, Senator Ronaldson cited Defence research that found occupational risk was not only linked to ADF deployment but also to domestic activities like border protection, disaster relief and training accidents.
“Consequently, ex-serving personnel with peacetime service only now have access to DVA arrangements for treatment for certain mental health conditions,” he said.

The University of Adelaide and the Australian Institute of Family Studies will lead the Transition & Wellbeing Research Programme in partnership with some of Australia’s foremost research institutions.

The investigation will include:
– ex-serving ADF members who transitioned from the regular ADF between 2010 and 2014
– current and ex-serving ADF members who participated in Defence’s Military Health Outcomes Program (MilHOP) in 2010-12
– a random sample of current ADF Reservists who have never been full-time ADF members
– a random sample of current serving regular ADF members
– family members nominated by the above.

The survey period is open from June to November 2015. To find out more, visit