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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
Occasional Associate Lecturer - HAS HSS

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.


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.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 2, 2015
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
Keywords visible difference
Public URL
Publisher URL