INTRODUCTION: This is the fourth phase of a longitudinal cohort study (2022-2023) to investigate the health and well-being of UK serving (Regulars and Reservists) and ex-serving personnel (veterans) who served during the era of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. The cohort was established in 2003 and has collected data over three previous phases including Phase 1 (2004-2006), Phase 2 (2007-2009) and Phase 3 (2014-2016).

METHODS AND ANALYSIS: Participants are eligible to take part if they completed the King's Centre for Military Health Research Health and Wellbeing Cohort Study at Phase 3 (2014-2016) and consented to be recontacted (N=7608). Participants will be recruited through email, post and text message to complete an online or paper questionnaire. Data are being collected between January 2022 and September 2023. Health and well-being measures include measures used in previous phases that assess common mental disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and alcohol misuse. Other areas of interest assess employment, help-seeking and family relationships. New topics include the impact of the British withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021, complex PTSD (C-PTSD), illicit drug use, gambling and loneliness. Analyses will describe the effect size between groups deployed to Iraq and/or Afghanistan or not deployed, and those who are currently in service versus ex-service personnel, respectively, reporting prevalences with 95% CIs, and ORs with 95% CI. Multivariable logistic and multiple linear regression analyses will be conducted to assess various health and well-being outcomes and associations with risk and protective factors.

ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethical approval has been granted by the Ministry of Defence Research Ethics Committee (Ref: 2061/MODREC/21). Participants are provided with information and agree to a series of consent statements before taking part. Findings will be disseminated to UK Armed Forces stakeholders and international research institutions through stakeholder meetings, project reports and scientific publications.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere079016
Pages (from-to)e079016
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number10
Early online date9 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - 9 Oct 2023


  • Epidemiology
  • Armed Forces
  • Mental Health
  • Wellbeing
  • Cohort study


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