Academics are looking for military widow(er)s to take part in a survey on loneliness and social isolation

Academics from Northumbria University are looking for individuals whose partners have died in the UK Armed Forces or after their service, to take part in new research into loneliness and social isolation.  

The project, developed by Northumbria University in collaboration with the War Widows’ Association, aims to understand military widows’ experiences of social isolation and loneliness, identify the services available to military widows, and examine their unmet needs.

There are almost 15,000 military widows and widowers in the UK today. This study will inform national debate and lead to the development of policy recommendations and guidance for improved service provision.

Mary Moreland, Chair of the War Widows’ Association, lost her husband, a member of the Ulster Defence Regiment, when he was killed on his way to work by members of the IRA in 1988. She said: “When there is no longer a serving person in the family unit those left behind are very frequently forgotten. Bereavement can add to increased feelings of isolation and loneliness, however as military widows no longer belong to the armed forces community, these feeling may be magnified. On behalf of the Association I am delighted to be working in collaboration with Northumbria University and Forces in Mind Trust on this project.”

Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, funders of the research, said “This research is both relevant and timely and will provide us with the necessary insights to produce a powerful set of recommendations that will improve the support available for our military widows and widowers.”

The research team is seeking up to 400 people to participate in the research. The survey will run from 1st March – 14th May 2021 and you can take part here:

Dr Gemma Wilson said ‘Your thoughts matter to the research team and could lead to improved well-being of a group of the armed forces community who are often forgotten’.

For more information please contact Gemma on


Notes to Editors

About the research

The research is being undertaken by The Northern Hub for Veterans and Military Families Research, based in Newcastle and is being led by Dr Gemma Wilson, Senior Vice Chancellor’s Research Fellow in Applied Health and lead of the Northern hub’s Ageing Veterans and Military Families research theme.  Dr Wilson is a Health Psychologist with expertise in ageing and psychosocial well-being, social isolation, loneliness, and digital exclusion.

The Northern Hub is a collective of academics, service providers and users with an interest in improving the health and social well-being of veterans and their families.  The team created the Veterans’ Gateway App, described by one leading veterans’ charity as being, “…arguably the biggest step forward in terms of accessible veterans’ support we’ve seen for a very long time”, andhave extensive experience of collaborative research, having investigated issues such as the health and well-being of limbless veterans with SSAFA and evaluated the Royal British Legion’s community support programme. 

For updates on how the work is progressing or a paper copy of the survey please see:

 The Northern Hub for Veterans and Military Families Research (

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