Post-Deployment: Violent Behaviour & UK Military Reservists

Research Paper Title

Violent behaviour among military reservists.


Large numbers of British and American Reservists have been deployed to operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Little is known about the impact of deployment and combat exposure on violent behaviour in Reservists.

The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of self-reported violent behaviour among a representative sample of United Kingdom Reservists, the risk factors associated with violence and the impact of deployment and combat exposure on violence.


This study used data from a large cohort study of randomly selected UK military personnel and included Reservists who were in service at the time of sampling (n = 1710). Data were collected by questionnaires that asked about:

  • Socio-demographic and military characteristics;
  • Pre-enlistment antisocial behaviour;
  • Deployment experiences;
  • Post-deployment mental health; and
  • Self-reported interpersonal violent behaviour.


  • The prevalence of violence among Reservists was 3.5%.
  • Deployment was found to be a risk factor for violent behaviour even after adjustment for confounders.
  • The association with violence was similar for those deployed in either a combat role or non-combat role.
  • Violence was also strongly associated with mental health risk factors (PTSD, common mental disorders, and alcohol misuse).


This study demonstrated higher levels of self-reported post-deployment violence in UK Reservists who had served in either Iraq or Afghanistan. Deployment, irrespective of the role was associated with higher levels of violent behaviour among Reservists.

The results also emphasize the risk of violent behaviour associated with post-deployment mental health problems.


Kwan, J., Jones, M., Hull, L., Wessely, S., Fear, N. & MacManus, D. (2017) Violent Behavior among Military Reservists. Aggresive Behavior. 43(3), pp.273-280. doi: 10.1002/ab.21687. Epub 2016 Oct 24.


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