Military Wives Matter – Barriers to Mental Health Treatment

Jay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhD

Lewy, Oliver, and McFarland (2014) [1] recently published research on barriers to mental health treatment, comparing military wives and a similar sample from the general population. Results from the survey indicated that the perceived barriers faced by military wives when seeking treatment for mental illnesses were significantly different than those perceived by the civilian population.

Military father holding son
[Flickr, Not listening by minxlj, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] Retrieved on September 23, 2015
To compare military wives with spouses in the general population, Internet-based surveys were used to gather a national sample of women married to military service members. The researchers screened potential participants for depression, non-specific psychological distress, and health status using established measures. Data from the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) provided a comparison group of similar women in the civilian population. The comparison samples totaled 569 military wives and 567 married women from the NSDUH survey.

Results of the surveys indicated that military wives believed that they faced a number of barriers to receiving mental health treatment that differed from the civilian population. The table below summarizes the comparative results:

Chart depicting reported barriers to mental health care
Lewy, C. S., Oliver, C. M., & McFarland, B. H. (2014). Barriers to mental health treatment for military wives. Psychiatric Services, 65(9), 1170-1173. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201300325

 

When working with military wives, whether on-base or in the community, it is important to consider the concerns of clients. As the above table indicates, military wives’ concerns about not getting treatment, lack of time for consultation, locating an appropriate clinician, trust, and feeling understood could be impediments to developing the necessary relationship for quality mental health care.

Reference

[1] Lewy, C. S., Oliver, C. M., & McFarland, B. H. (2014). Barriers to mental health treatment for military wives. Psychiatric Services, 65(9), 1170-1173. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201300325

This post was written by Jay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhD, members of the MFLN Family Development (FD) team which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, YouTube, and on LinkedIn.

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