Understanding evidence and provision of services around social isolation and loneliness of military widow/ers: A scoping review

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Abstract

Background
Whilst the uniqueness of loneliness and social isolation is now recognised for members of the Armed Forces Community, there is currently a lack of evidence examining these experiences within the Military Widow/er population. Therefore, this scoping review aimed to search and synthesise the current evidence base exploring experiences of loneliness and social isolation in this community.

Method
Six databases were searched; ASSIA; CINAHL; ProQuest Dissertation & Theses Global; PsycArticles; Medline; Web of Science. Any article type was included if they focused on UK or international Military Widows and loneliness and social isolation. In the absence of loneliness and social isolation, related aspects were included, for example, social support.

Results
A thematic synthesis was completed on the nine eligible papers, where key findings were coded and generated into four themes; Experiences of Loneliness and Social Isolation, The Uniqueness of the Military, Access to Social Support, and The Importance of Peer Support.

Conclusions
Evidence supports the need for military-specific support services with peers who recognise the individuals’ unique experiences of loneliness and social isolation. None of the available evidence focused specifically on social isolation, however this was often prevalent in the results. All of the studies were carried out in the USA and Israel, with none including the views of widowers. Further evidence is required, particularly relating to a UK-context.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0293182
Number of pages18
JournalPLoS One
Volume18
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Nov 2023

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