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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Assessment times, mental health status, and referrals among post-deployed army reservists
by Waters, R. Stephen, Psy.D., California Institute of Integral Studies, 2012, 183; 3539751
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study was to explore Army reservists' mental health concerns by analyzing their Post-Deployment Health Assessments [PDHAs] and Reassessments [PDHRAs]. Their suicide rates are nearly double that of their active duty peers. Yet, reservists' postdeployment experiences are still vastly understudied. To address this gap in research, nearly 15,000 Army reservists' PDHAs and PDHRAs, from 2003 to 2009, were acquired through a Department of Defense Protocol for Research.

It was hypothesized that: (a) as the time between postdeployment assessments and reassessments increased mental health symptoms reported by reservists would decrease, (b) reservists with better self-reports of overall health status would endorse fewer mental health symptoms on their reassessments while those with poorer self-reports of health would endorse more, (c) as reservists were further from deployment they would show greater agreement (or congruence) between their self-reports of overall health and their endorsements of mental health symptoms, and (d) a low level of congruence would be influential in the generation of referral information.

Hypothesis C was not confirmed. Hypotheses A, B, and D, though statistically confirmed, were not found to have effect sizes sufficient for practical predictive value. Army reservists reported many mental health symptoms during their years postdeployment. Their overall health status did not predict mental health symptom reports, and this did not change at longer times postdeployment. None of these factors, especially mental health symptom reports, predicted referral provisions. Most striking, for those reservists who reported post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD] symptoms, 54% did not receive a referral of any kind; similarly, for those reporting risk of harm to others, 46% did not receive a referral. The non-referral rate for those reporting risk of harm to self was 39%.

These results were found in a population of Army reservists who completed their postdeployment assessments early in the implementation of numerous congressional mandates for improved mental health care for service members. These significant findings, paired with the serious mental health concerns of current service members, demand more extensive research into the process of assessment and provision of mental health care services for postdeployed Army reservists.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: McGovern, Katie
Commitee: Bach, Lee G.
School: California Institute of Integral Studies
Department: Clinical Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 74/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Behavioral psychology, Psychology, Clinical psychology
Keywords: Army, Assessment, Pdha, Pdhra, Post-deployed, Reservists
Publication Number: 3539751
ISBN: 978-1-267-64201-1
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