Remembrance Day 2019 marks the 101st anniversary of the Armistice that ended the First World War. At 11am on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, Australians observe one minute’s silence to honour the service and sacrifice of Australians who have served in all war, peacekeeping and humanitarian operations.
Remembrance Day is also an opportunity to reflect on the impacts of military service on veterans, their families and communities – alongside those who lose their lives or are injured. Tragically, many suffer invisible wounds.
For some service personnel and their families, the stresses associated with military life, such as the emotional toll of repeated deployments, can make anger a problem in their lives.
While anger is a normal human emotion, it can potentially interfere with day-to-day life and impact important relationships.
Anger becomes a problem if it occurs frequently, with intensity, or is ongoing; if it causes significant distress, affects relationships, or is associated with aggressive behaviours.
It is well known that rates of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are higher among veterans than the broader Australian community. However, less well known is that problem anger is also a significant issue – 30 per cent of transitioning veterans reported problem anger in the 2018 Mental Health and Wellbeing Transition Study. Yet, while it is common, little is known about it and its causes.
The Centenary of Anzac Centre, a Phoenix Australia initiative, is leading a pioneering study into problem anger that will provide new insights and help improve our understanding of how to effectively treat problem anger.
The study, Understanding Problem Anger and its Causes in Australian Veterans (UNPAC), will investigate problem anger in ex-military personnel. It will shine a light on the everyday lives of veterans and explore how thoughts, feelings, and actions influence the frequency, intensity, and nature of anger experiences.
The study will utilise an innovative research method known as Ecological-Momentary-Assessment, which captures life in real time. Leveraging the power of smartphone technology, participants will use their mobile device to complete brief on-the-spot micro-surveys throughout the day.
“We know anger problems can be a source of great distress for veterans and can harm family relationships, social networks and careers, sometimes irreversibly,” says Dr Mark Hinton, Director of the Centenary of Anzac Centre’s Treatment Research Collaboration.
“This innovative study will help us to gain a better understanding of problem anger in ex-military personnel and guide development of targeted, more personalised treatments for veterans who want to change how they manage their anger.”
The UNPAC study is currently recruiting participants who:
- are veterans of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) aged 18 years or older
- have served in the ADF for longer than 12 months
- own a smartphone device
- are able to access a personal email account from their smartphone.
For more information visit www.anzaccentre.org.au/understanding-problem-anger-and-its-causes-in-australian-veterans.
Image: Operation Okra © Commonwealth of Australia 2018