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Mental health stigmatisation in deployed UK Armed Forces: A principal components analysis

Fertout, Mohammed; Jones, N.; Keeling, M.; Greenberg, N.


Mohammed Fertout

N. Jones

Mary Keeling
Senior Research Fellow in visible difference and military conflict research

N. Greenberg


© 2015, Royal Army Medical College. All rights reserved. Introduction UK military research suggests that there is a significant link between current psychological symptoms, mental health stigmatisation and perceived barriers to care (stigma/BTC). Few studies have explored the construct of stigma/BTC in depth amongst deployed UK military personnel. Method Three survey datasets containing a stigma/BTC scale obtained during UK deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan were combined (n=3405 personnel). Principal component analysis was used to identify the key components of stigma/BTC. The relationship between psychological symptoms, the stigma/BTC components and help seeking were examined. Results Two components were identified: ‘potential loss of personal military credibility and trust’ (stigma Component 1, five items, 49.4% total model variance) and ‘negative perceptions of mental health services and barriers to help seeking’ (Component 2, six items, 11.2% total model variance). Component 1 was endorsed by 37.8% and Component 2 by 9.4% of personnel. Component 1 was associated with both assessed and subjective mental health, medical appointments and admission to hospital. Stigma Component 2 was associated with subjective and assessed mental health but not with medical appointments. Neither component was associated with help-seeking for subjective psycho-social problems. Conclusions Potential loss of credibility and trust appeared to be associated with help-seeking for medical reasons but not for help-seeking for subjective psychosocial problems. Those experiencing psychological symptoms appeared to minimise the effects of stigma by seeking out a socially acceptable route into care, such as the medical consultation, whereas those who experienced a subjective mental health problem appeared willing to seek help from any source.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Dec 1, 2015
Journal Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps
Print ISSN 0035-8665
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 161
Issue Suppl
Pages i69-i76
APA6 Citation Fertout, M., Jones, N., Keeling, M., & Greenberg, N. (2015). Mental health stigmatisation in deployed UK Armed Forces: A principal components analysis. Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps, 161(Suppl), i69-i76.
Keywords visible difference
Publisher URL