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Volunteers needed for socially connected physical activity study

Researchers from the University of British Columbia (UBC) are seeking volunteers to participate in a study happening at CFB Borden. The study will evaluate the importance of social connectivity and physical activity in improving the well-being and quality of life among veterans and currently serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Transitioning from military to civilian life can bring unique and substantial challenges for veterans, past research shows. “Purpose After Service through Sport” (PASS) is designed to provide opportunities to improve health and fitness, socially connect, blow off steam in a semi-competitive environment and, for those who might be interested, access transition resources and services like employment, education and counselling.

With a father who served in the British Armed Forces and close friends who are veterans, PASS founder and coordinator, Professor Mark Beauchamp, is passionate about finding ways to help others hold onto their sense of identity, purpose and community after their service.

“Through regular physical activity and connecting with others, the PASS program has the potential to support veterans’ physical and psychological health, and also connect them with relevant resources to support them post-release,” Dr. Beauchamp said.

Funded by a grant from Veterans Affairs Canada, the study is targeted towards the impact for men, who have been shown through past research to be particularly reluctant to seek help.

“The study is open to currently serving members of the CAF, and involvement in the study might be of particular interest to those who anticipate transitioning out of the CAF in the next few years,” said Beauchamp. “That said, the study is open to any member of the CAF or veteran who is interested in some activity and staying connected.”

Borden is one of nine military bases across Canada participating in the study. The trial involves free weekly ball hockey sessions for six months. Those interested in participating can contact the UBC team at pass.trial@ubc.ca.

A parallel study for women veterans is also being conducted, called Purpose After service through Connectedness and Exercise (PACE). For details on this, contact pace.study@ubc.ca.

For more details about the program, visit www.passprogram.ca.

By: Emily Nakeff, Editor