Date of Award
Master of Science
The self-stigma of seeking help is a significant barrier to utilizing mental health care services (Vogel, Wade, & Haake, 2006). Veterans may be particularly vulnerable to stigma, as seeking help violates the “warrior ethos” of the military, which holds values such as competence, emotional stoicism, and strength as sacrosanct (Skopp et al., 2012). Psychoeducational interventions are typically used to normalize counseling; however, information that suggests one may need mental health care can threaten an individual’s self-concept. Research has shown that when people reflect on personal values, they can cope better with threatening information (Sherman & Cohen, 2006). This study tested a self-affirmation and psychoeducational intervention in 43 student Veterans enrolled at 8 undergraduate institutions in Iowa. Participants in the self-affirmation plus psychoeducation condition ranked their personal values and reflected on why they are important before being exposed to psychoeducational information about counseling that was tailored to Veterans. Participants in the psychoeducation-only condition solely viewed the educational information. It was hypothesized that participants in the self-affirmation group would experience less threat and more engagement with the counseling information, and in turn, demonstrate decreased self-stigma of seeking help, increased attitudes towards counseling, and increased intentions to seek counseling. Results partially supported the hypotheses, with the self-affirmation intervention leading to increased intentions to seek counseling.
Seidman, Andrew, "The use of a self-affirmation intervention to increase the psychological help-seeking behavior of student Veterans" (2016). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 15807.