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10th February 2021 Latest News

Combatting Stigma in the Military

Stigmatisation of military personnel

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) is an organisation striving for resilience, team cohesion and operational effectiveness. For more than ten years ADF programs have aimed to address issues of workforce diversity to foster an inclusive work environment where individuals feel appreciated and valued.

However, there is evidence that stigmatisation of military personnel returning from operational service – and experiencing certain mental health conditions – still exists.

A world-first study sought to explore ways of detecting and understanding stigma to assist Defence and the Australian Defence Force in monitoring and managing it.

This pilot project aimed to identify the characteristics and prevalence of stigmatising language and advise how it can be changed and minimised to achieve more sustainable outcomes in recruitment, retention and combat readiness and capability.

Watch the video below for the outcomes of this study.

Identifying combat and combat-related stigma


Research Background

This research united researchers from the University of South Australia, the University of Adelaide and Defence Science and Technology, using a multi-disciplinary approach. The team comprised researchers with experience and knowledge in the fields of communication, psychology and computational linguistics – an atypical collaboration that brought distinctive perspectives to a single research problem. This research project was backed by Defence Innovation Partnership Collaborative Research Funding and this summary was proudly produced by Military and Emergency Services Health Australia.


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