Posttraumatic stress and stigma in active-duty service members relate to lower likelihood of seeking support.J Trauma Stress. 2014 Feb; 27(1):116-9.JT
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common mental health concern for returning service members. Social support is a robust predictor of resiliency and recovery from PTSD; however, barriers to seeking support are understudied. PTSD and anticipated enacted stigma from family and friends were explored as correlates of the likelihood of seeking support among 153 Iraq/Afghanistan U.S. service members. Results showed that PTSD (r = -.31, p < .001) and anticipated enacted stigma (r = -.22, p ≤ .01) were negatively associated with likelihood of seeking support. Post hoc analyses showed that only dysphoria (r = -.32, p < .001) was significantly related to the likelihood of seeking support after accounting for anticipated enacted stigma and other PTSD clusters. Implications of these findings and ways to increase likelihood of seeking support are discussed.