Article Text

What are the best and worst things about having a father in UK Armed Forces? Analysis of free text responses
  1. Vageesh Jain1,
  2. S A M Stevelink2 and
  3. N T Fear2
  1. 1King's College London, School of Medicine, London, UK
  2. 2King's College London, King's Centre for Military Health Research, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Vageesh Jain, King's College London, School of Medicine, Vageesh.jain{at}


Objective This study aims to explore what adolescents report as the best and worst aspects of having a father in the UK military.

Methods Qualitative data were collected from 171 adolescents aged 11–16 years, via an online questionnaire exploring the impact of paternal military service on childhood well-being (response rate=70%). Questions about the best and worst aspects of their father's military role were examined. Content analysis has been used to code the qualitative data into themes.

Results 85 girls and 86 boys were included with a mean age of 13 years (SD 1.92). The results showed lack of contact as the single most commonly reported negative factor of having a father in the military (61%). Positive aspects of their fathers' job most frequently reported included a sense of pride (25%) and financial benefits (25%).

Conclusions Adolescents take a great deal of pride in their father's jobs in the military, and they enjoy the financial benefits. A majority, however, feel a lack of contact with their father is the most negative factor.


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