Introducing MT-Ready04 September 2023
World first research aims to assess Defence personnel for a mentally healthy transition to civilian life.
A new psychometric assessment tool has been developed to predict how likely a Defence member is to have a difficult transition from Defence to civilian life, and what areas of adjustment and reintegration they might need support with along the way. Called the Mental Readiness for Military Transition Scale (MT-Ready), the world-first study and measure, developed by researchers at the Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation (GMRF) through its partnership with RSL Queensland could have a significant impact on the lives of service members as it assesses their mental readiness for transition.
Principal Investigator on the study Dr Madeline Romaniuk said it is the predictive abilities of the measure that makes this tool significant.
“The MT-Ready assesses psychological and social variables that impact Defence members’ transition from the military and subsequent adjustment to civilian life. This proactive, preventative approach – which hasn’t been done before – can be used before someone leaves Defence to predict what might happen once they leave,” Dr Romaniuk said.
“Using a tool that has the ability to predict whether someone is going to have poor outcomes post-service, prior to them leaving service, can, ideally, prevent a potential cascade of negative events happening.”
The MT-Ready is a self-report 15-question assessment that takes two minutes to complete. Results identify whether they need support in three key areas shown to be predictive of adjustment post-service: future focus and optimism, anger and perceived failure, and civilian connections and social support.
“The results from the questionnaire identify whether the person is performing well in a specific area or if further support is recommended prior to their transition to civilian life,” Dr Romaniuk said.
GMRF’s Director of Mental Health Research Associate Professor Luke Johnson said MT-Ready could make a huge difference to the trajectories of someone’s life.
“If the transition process itself is not as smooth and as seamless as it could be, then the effects of that could linger on for some time; people don't feel settled in their lives post service, they don't feel welcomed into the community and they feel a sense of loss and out of place,” Assoc. Prof Johnson said.
This research was the final phase of a seven-year programme delivered in partnership between GMRF and RSL Queensland, which ultimately aimed to identify and predict Defence members who were most at risk of poor adjustment and reintegration difficulties post-transition. 345 current serving ADF members in the process of separating from military service participated in the study.
Other tools that were developed throughout the programme of research include the Military to Civilian Adjustment and Reintegration Measure (M-CARM) and its companion online training program – GoBeyond, with both initiatives currently being widely used by veterans once they have transitioned from Defence.
RSL Queensland CEO Rob Skoda said the MT-Ready measure would help to improve the outcomes possible for serving members by equipping them with the information they need to understand their individual social and psychological predispositions.
“MT-Ready is the unique outcome of the research and offers a way for veterans to prepare the complexities of transitioning from military to civilian life,” Mr Skoda said.
“The tool is quick and simple to use and helps provides visibility on the areas where someone may be vulnerable – ultimately setting veterans up for a more successful transition post-service.
“Leaning on the lived experiences of veterans and extensive research results, the tool offers invaluable insights that ultimately heighten levels of self-awareness for service-personnel as a form of early intervention.”
The MT-Ready measure is available online and free of charge, Australia-wide - www.m-carm.org
“We will continue conversations with the ADF Joint Transition Authority to establish the best approach to create awareness of this tool to transitioning members, to ensure they have the best chance of reintegrating into civilian life,” Assoc. Prof Johnson said.
The study has now been published in the open access scientific journal BMC Psychiatry, part of Springer Nature.