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Cultural and service factors related to mental health beliefs among post-9/11 veterans.

Krill Williston S, Roemer L, Vogt DS. Cultural and service factors related to mental health beliefs among post-9/11 veterans. The International Journal of Social Psychiatry. 2019 Jun 1; 65(4):313-321.

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BACKGROUND AND AIMS: The primary purpose of this study was to examine cultural and demographic predictors of dimensions of anticipated stigma and negative mental health beliefs, known barriers to mental health care utilization, among post-9/11 veterans. METHODS: A cross-sectional survey methodology was used to assess 132 post-9/11 veterans. Bivariate correlations were used to examine associations between military cultural values (self-reliance and emotional control), demographic variables (gender and service characteristics) and dimensions of anticipated stigma and negative beliefs about mental health. Descriptive statistics were used to examine item-level agreement on scales of stigma, mental health beliefs and cultural values to more fully describe these beliefs in this population. RESULTS: Descriptive findings revealed that the most highly endorsed dimension of stigma was anticipated stigma from coworkers. Correlational findings indicated that only exaggerated self-reliance, not emotional control, was positively associated with higher negative beliefs about treatment and treatment-seeking, and not other dimensions of negative beliefs about mental health. Active duty service members and those who deployed reported higher negative beliefs about treatment-seeking, emotional control and self-reliance. In addition, men reported higher negative beliefs about treatments, treatment-seeking and self-reliance than women. CONCLUSION: These results highlight the importance of addressing concerns about self-reliance and mental health treatment in stigma-reduction interventions especially among male, deployed, and active duty service members to reduce stigma and stigma-related barriers to care.

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