Cover: Engagement in Mental Health Treatment Among Veterans Returning from Iraq

Engagement in Mental Health Treatment Among Veterans Returning from Iraq

Published in: Patient Preference and Adherence, v. 201, no. 4, Mar. 2010, p. 45-49

Posted on 2010

by Tracy Stecker, John Fortney, Francis Hamilton, Cathy D. Sherbourne, Icek Ajzen

OBJECTIVES: Many veterans return from combat experiencing a variety of mental health concerns. Previous research has documented a stigma associated with seeking treatment that interferes with the decision to seek treatment. This study, conceptualized using the theory of planned behavior, assessed beliefs about mental health treatment in order to understand mental health treatment seeking behavior among a group of returning National Guard soldiers who served in the war in Iraq. METHODS: Participants were one hundred and fifty Operation Iraqi Freedom National Guard soldiers who screened positive for depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder or alcohol abuse disorder on the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI). Participants were asked to complete a questionnaire assessing beliefs about mental health treatment and treatment-seeking behavior. RESULTS: Beliefs related to symptom reduction and work were significantly related to mental health treatment-seeking behavior. CONCLUSIONS: Interventions developed to engage veterans into care must be directed toward cognitive factors that motivate treatment seeking in addition to traditionally targeted structural barriers.

This report is part of the RAND external publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.