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A Latent Class Analysis of Mental Health Beliefs Related to Military Sexual Trauma.

Hahn CK, Turchik J, Kimerling R. A Latent Class Analysis of Mental Health Beliefs Related to Military Sexual Trauma. Journal of traumatic stress. 2021 Apr 1; 34(2):394-404.

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Military veterans with histories of military sexual trauma (MST) are at risk for several negative mental health outcomes and report perceived barriers to treatment engagement. To inform interventions to promote gender-sensitive access to MST-related care, we conducted an exploratory, multiple-group latent class analysis of negative beliefs about MST-related care. Participants were U.S. veterans (N = 1,185) who screened positive for MST within the last 2 months and reported a perceived need for MST-related treatment. Associations between class membership, mental health screenings, logistical barriers, difficulty accessing care, and unmet need for MST-related care were also examined. Results indicated a four-class solution, with classes categorized as (a) low barrier, with few negative beliefs; (b) high barrier, with pervasive negative beliefs; (c) stigma-related beliefs; and (d) negative perceptions of care (NPC). Men were significantly less likely than women to fall into the low barrier class (27.9% vs. 34.5%). Relative to participants in the low barrier class, individuals in all other classes reported more scheduling, ps < .001; transportation, p < .001 to p = .014; and work-related barriers, p < .001 to p = .031. Participants in the NPC class reported the most difficulty with access, p < .001, and those in the NPC and high barrier classes were more likely to report unmet needs compared to other classes, ps < .001. Brief cognitive and behavioral interventions, delivered in primary care settings and via telehealth, tailored to address veterans' negative mental health beliefs may increase the utilization of mental health treatment related to MST.

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