Date of Award

Spring 2020

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

School

Psychology

Committee Chair

Dr. Michael D. Anestis

Committee Chair School

Psychology

Committee Member 2

Dr. Joye C. Anestis

Committee Member 2 School

Psychology

Committee Member 3

Dr. Daniel W. Capron

Committee Member 3 School

Psychology

Abstract

Given the high rate of suicide, it is important to understand what barriers are preventing service members from seeking professional help for suicidal thoughts. Self-stigma and conformity to masculine norms, which are evident in the military culture, have been demonstrated as barriers to care in civilians. This study sought to better understand how these two factors are related to willingness to seek professional help for suicidal thoughts and a personal-emotional problem among service members. Specifically, we (1) identified service members’ willingness to seek help from a variety of sources for suicidal thoughts and a personal-emotional problem, (2) examined how conformity to specific masculine norms differ among male and female service members and civilians, and (3) examined how self-stigma of seeking help and conformity to masculine norms are related to willingness to seek help from a behavioral health professional (i.e., BHP) for suicidal thoughts and a personal-emotional problem. Results partially supported hypotheses. Male service members reported higher conformity to masculine norms than female service members and civilian males. Female service members reported higher conformity to masculine norms than civilian females. In both models (i.e., personal-emotional problem, suicidal thoughts), conformity to masculine norms had a significant indirect effect on willingness to seek help from a BHP through self-stigma of seeking help. The direct effect of conformity to masculine norms on willingness to seek help from a BHP was non-significant in both models. Findings suggest help-seeking campaigns and interventions may need to be culturally adapted to address self-stigma of seeking help.

Available for download on Thursday, May 14, 2020

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