A survey of perceived barriers and attitudes toward mental health care among OEF/OIF veterans at va outpatient mental health clinics

Hector A. Garcia, Erin P. Finley, Norma Ketchum, Matthew Jakupcak, Albana Dassori, Stephanie C. Reyes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations


Objective: In an effort to improve our understanding of perceived treatment barriers among veterans of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) relative to other era veterans, the current study examined veteran attitudes and beliefs about mental health treatment and treatment-seeking, and perceived patient and institution-level logistical barriers to care. Method: A survey was conducted among 434 Combat veterans seeking care in nine Veterans Affairs mental health care outpatient clinics. Results: When compared to Vietnam and Gulf War veterans, OEF/OIF veterans were significantly more likely to endorse negative treatment attitudes as possible barriers to care. OEF/OIF veterans were also more likely than Vietnam veterans to endorse conflicting work demands as a potential barrier, although this was the only logistical barrier for which OEF/OIF veterans’ responses differed significantly from those of veterans of other eras. Among OEF/OIF veterans, older veterans were more likely than younger veterans to endorse barriers related to cost and time commitments. Conclusions: These findings suggest an important role for outreach and engagement strategies that address attitudinal barriers to treatment utilization among veteran populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-278
Number of pages6
JournalMilitary medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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