Predictors of mental health care use among male and female veterans deployed in support of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
What factors predict whether Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) veterans who need mental health care receive that care? The present research examined factors associated with a need for care, sociodemographic characteristics, deployment experiences, and perceptions of care as gender-specific predictors of overall mental health care use and Veterans Affairs (VA) mental health care use for male and female OEF/OIF veterans (N = 1,040). Only veterans with a probable need for mental health care, as determined by scores on self-report measures of mental health symptomatology, were included in the sample. Overall, predictors of service use were similar for women and men. A notable exception was the finding that lower income predicted use of both overall and VA mental health care for women, but not men. In addition, sexual harassment was a unique predictor of VA service use for women, whereas non-White race was predictive of VA service use for men only. Knowledge regarding the factors that are associated with use of mental health care (broadly and at VA) is critical to ensuring that veterans who need mental health care receive it.
Di Leone, BAL; Vogt, D; Gradus, JL; Street, AE; Giasson, HL; Resick, PA
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