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Brief Reports   |    
Barriers to Mental Health Treatment for Military Wives
Colleen S. Lewy, Ph.D.; Celina M. Oliver, Ph.D.; Bentson H. McFarland, M.D., Ph.D.
Psychiatric Services 2014; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201300325
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The authors are with the Department of Psychiatry, Oregon Health and Sciences University, Portland. Send correspondence to Dr. McFarland (e-mail: mcfarlab@ohsu.edu). Some of the findings were presented at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association, August 4–7, 2011, Washington, D.C., and at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association, October 27–31, 2012, San Francisco.

Copyright © 2014 by the American Psychiatric Association


Objective  An Internet-based survey sought information about barriers to mental health services for military wives.

Methods  On the basis of qualitative work, an Internet-based program was created to identify military wives who may have major depressive disorder.

Results  Women (N=569, ages 18 to 56) were recruited from 45 states and eight foreign countries. Most participants (78%) reported mild to severe depression. Many (44%) reported unaddressed mental health needs. Barriers included inability to attend daytime appointments (38%), inability to find a counselor who understands the needs of military spouses (35%), inability to find a counselor the participant could trust (29%), concerns about confidentiality (26%), and lack of knowledge about where to get services (25%). The barriers reported differed markedly from those described by distressed women in the general population.

Conclusions  Military wives are an underserved population. Knowledge of military culture is essential for civilian mental health providers working with military wives.

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Anchor for Jump
Table 1Barriers to services reported by military wives and by married women with depression in a national population survey
Table Footer Note

a 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health 201; 567 married females ages 18 to 64 with past-year major depressive disorder; weighted percentages with complex sample standard errors

Table Footer Note

b For the sample of military wives, percentages and SEs for each barrier are based on the number of participants who indicated that they did not get needed treatment (N=162).

Table Footer Note

d For the sample of military wives, the percentage and SE are based on the number of participants who answered this question (N=369).



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