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 RAND.org on December 31, 2009
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.