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Military Health System

Longitudinal determinants of mental health treatment-seeking by US soldiers.

Publication Status: Published

Sponsoring Organization: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)

Sponsoring Office: Walter Reed National Military Medical Center

Congressionally Mandated: No

Funding Source: Army

Release Date/Publication: October 01, 2015

Principle Investigator Status: Government

Primary DoD Data Source: Military Health System (MHS) Data Repository

Secondary DoD Data Source:


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 conceptualization 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.


Adler AB, Britt TW, Riviere LA, Kim PY, Thomas JL. Longitudinal determinants of mental health treatment-seeking by US soldiers. Br J Psychiatry. 2015 Oct;207(4):346-50.

Last Updated: February 21, 2019
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