This report was funded by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to assess available literature on the psychological and vocational outcomes of delivering support services to the families of veterans at times of high family stress. The review considered interventions being provided to veterans in Australia, and other English speaking countries who may have similar veteran experiences.
The literature review was undertaken in the context of the growing body of research and policy evidence suggesting that veterans can be challenged by transition from the Australian Defence Force (ADF) into civilian life, with a consequential direct negative impact on the wellbeing of the veteran and family members. The aim of this literature review was to examine available peer reviewed research regarding the support available to families of veterans in order to inform the establishment of a policy framework.
The review yielded 34 results, primarily considering the experiences of veterans and their families in the United States. The absence of peer-reviewed literature from New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom highlights that this topic is one that is still in its infancy.
Overall, studies indicated that family involvement in care was most definitely a contributing factor to veterans achieving positive psychological and interpersonal outcomes. The review noted that younger veterans, in particular, liked the message of family involvement, the use of digital support tools and therapy that accommodated childcare needs.
While the literature highlights some potential programs which could assist Australian veterans and their families, including online education tools for adults and children, the need for further research in this area is apparent, specifically in the Australian context.
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