Mission Himalaya: exploring the impact of a supported high-altitude mountaineering expedition on the well-being and personal development of UK military veterans

KAY, Christopher William Philip, WINGFIELD, Harriet Laura and MCKENNA, Jim (2022). Mission Himalaya: exploring the impact of a supported high-altitude mountaineering expedition on the well-being and personal development of UK military veterans. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19 (9): 5049.

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Official URL: https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/19/9/5049
Open Access URL: https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/19/9/5049/pdf?versi... (Published version)
Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095049


Meaningful, positive, emotional and challenging adventurous activities may generate personal growth or recovery from ill health or injury. In this study, we used a distinctive longitudinal and immersive research approach to explore the psychological impact of a high-altitude expedition to the Nepalese Himalaya on 10 (9 males) UK military veterans with longstanding well-being concerns. In the 12 months prior to the expedition, participants took part in three training weekends in the UK mountains. During the expedition, instructors—who were all experienced health coaches—facilitated reflective practices with the beneficiaries throughout, focusing on experiential transfer to day-to-day lives after the expedition. Follow-up interviews, conducted up to 18-months post-expedition, identified that the most desirable changes aligned with the three innate psychological needs of self-determination theory: autonomy, competence and relatedness. The routines established during the preparation stage and during the expedition itself activated a renewed energy for personal improvement. At 18 months post-expedition, the key changes reflected altered perspective, employment skills and work−life balance, increased physical activity and enhanced personal awareness and mindfulness. Importantly, supported by regular health coaching and focused on the transfer of learning, expeditions can activate meaningful long-term changes to the well-being and personal development of military veterans.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: ** From MDPI via Jisc Publications Router ** Licence for this article: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ **Journal IDs: eissn 1660-4601 **History: published 21-04-2022; accepted 19-04-2022
Uncontrolled Keywords: psychological well-being, veterans, behaviour change, mental health, adventure therapy, recovery, health coaching, post-expedition growth, expedition, mountaineering, psychosocial development, self-determination theory
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095049
SWORD Depositor: Colin Knott
Depositing User: Colin Knott
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2022 14:32
Last Modified: 09 May 2022 10:46
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/30145

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