Service Seeking Behaviors among Service Members and Spouses of Service Members: Facilitating and Inhibitory Factors

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Virginia Tech

While previous research has explored the relationship between combat exposure and mental health disorders, the effects of mental health disorders on attrition rates of Service members, the discrepancy between mental health counseling services available and utilized by Service members, and barriers to seeking mental health counseling services, the majority of studies thus far have only been conducted with Service members and have been quantitative in nature. While researchers have begun to explore the experience of deployment on Service member spouses, little research has focused specifically on their service seeking behavior regarding accessing mental health services. This is unfortunate given that multiple studies have indicated the importance of including Service member's spouses in future research. This qualitative study included both Service members and spouses of Service member's in an attempt to capture their mental health counseling service seeking behaviors. Thematic analysis was employed to develop a model of mental health seeking behavior among Service members and their spouses. The resulting model is unique in that it attempts to account for the influence of multiple contextual and ecological factors. Limitations of the study, future research and clinical implications are also discussed.

Mental health counseling services, Service members, spouses of Service members