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Longitudinal determinants of mental health treatment-seeking by US soldiers

  • Amy B. Adler (a1), Thomas W. Britt (a2), Lyndon A. Riviere (a3), Paul Y. Kim (a3) and Jeffrey L. Thomas (a4)...

Abstract

Background

Studies with members of the armed forces have found a gap between reports of mental health symptoms and treatment-seeking.

Aims

To assess the impact of attitudes on treatment-seeking behaviours in soldiers returning from a combat deployment.

Method

A sample of 529 US soldiers were surveyed 4 months (time 1) and 12 months (time 2) post-deployment. Mental health symptoms and treatment-seeking attitudes were assessed at time 1; reported mental healthcare visits were assessed at time 2.

Results

Factor analysis of the total time 1 sample revealed four attitude factors: professional concerns, practical barriers, preference for self-management and positive attitudes about treatment. For the subset of 160 soldiers reporting a mental health problem at time 1, and controlling for mental health symptom severity, self-management inversely predicted treatment-seeking; positive attitudes were positively related.

Conclusions

Results demonstrate the importance of broadening the conceptualisation of barriers and facilitators of mental healthcare beyond stigma. Techniques and delivery models emphasising self-care may help increase soldiers' interest in using mental health services.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Dr Amy B. Adler, Military Psychiatry Branch, Center for Military Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, 503 Robert Grant Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910, USA. Email: amy.b.adler.civ@mail.mil

Footnotes

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Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes

References

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Longitudinal determinants of mental health treatment-seeking by US soldiers

  • Amy B. Adler (a1), Thomas W. Britt (a2), Lyndon A. Riviere (a3), Paul Y. Kim (a3) and Jeffrey L. Thomas (a4)...
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