Military personnel encounter occupational hazards that make them vulnerable to developing mental health symptoms; however, many soldiers who experience a problem do not seek treatment. A major barrier to treatment is self-reliance, a preference to manage problems oneself rather than seek help from a professional. In the present study, we sought a more comprehensive understanding of factors that contribute to self-reliance. Active-duty soldiers (N = 485) were surveyed at two time points. The sample was 93% male, 67% Caucasian, and most were aged 20-24 (49%). The survey included: factors that affect treatment-seeking, deployment experiences, and mental health symptoms. Results indicated that stigmatizing beliefs about those who seek treatment and negative beliefs about treatment at Time 1 were related to higher preferences for self-reliance at Time 2, while positive beliefs about treatment at Time 1 were related to lower self-reliance. Combat exposure, mental health symptoms, social support for treatment-seeking, and stigma from others were not significant predictors. These results demonstrate that self-reliance may not be unique to combat soldiers and may not diminish as symptoms become severe. Instead oneâ€™s views of treatment and others who seek treatment may be more impactful, and should be the target of interventions to encourage treatment-seeking.
Jennings, Kristen S.; Pury, Cynthia L.S.; Britt, Thomas W.; Cheung, Janelle H.; and Zinzow, Heidi M., "Longitudinal Predictors of Self-Reliance for Coping with Mental Health Problems in the Military" (2015). Graduate Research and Discovery Symposium (GRADS). 182.