Dissertation - Public Access
Psy.D. Doctor of Clinical Psychology
Dr. Sandra Zakowski
Dr. Leah Horvath
Dr. Bradley Olson
Among the veteran population there is a trend of underutilizing mental health services despite the higher number of veterans with mental health diagnoses. Though previous research has examined barriers to mental health care such as stigma and a warrior mentality, there may be additional barriers that emanate from the system to which veterans are entitled and encouraged to use, the Veterans Administration (VA). This study examined the mediational relationships among perceptions of the VA, attitudes about seeking mental health treatment at the VA, and intentions to seek mental health treatment at the VA among veterans. Data from 96 veterans were collected via social media platforms (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram). The results of the study showed there was a significant positive relationship between perceptions of the VA and intentions to seek mental health treatment at the VA. As positive perceptions of the VA increased, so did veterans’ reports of intentions to seek mental health treatment at the VA. There was also a relationship between attitudes about seeking mental health treatment at the VA and intentions to seek mental health treatment at the VA, indicating that as attitudes became more positive, ratings of reported intentions to seek mental health treatment at the VA increased. Finally, attitudes mediated the relationship between perceptions and intentions in the predicted direction, thus supporting the hypothesis. The current study provides evidence that perceptions and attitudes of the VA may facilitate seeking VA mental health treatment when perceptions are more positive. Conversely, negative perceptions of the VA may present a barrier to seeking such services. The results further define what influences veteran mental health utilization and have the potential to inform policy changes to improve the VA’s image and services to increase the use of mental health services among the veteran population.
Hines, Hilary, "Perceptions of the Veterans Administration and Mental Health Treatment Seeking Intentions Among Veterans" (2023). Dissertations. 720.