Help-seeking among airmen in distressed relationships: Promoting relationship well-being

Douglas K. Snyder, Jeffrey A. Cigrang, Christina Balderrama-Durbin, G. Wayne Talcott, Amy M. Smith Slep, Richard E. Heyman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Although a substantial proportion of service members returning from a combat deployment report individual emotional and behavioral disorders as well as intimate relationship difficulties, previous studies indicate that only a minority actually seek mental health services. Little is known about factors that predict help-seeking in this population. We first review key findings from the literature on help-seeking in military and veteran populations, including mixed findings regarding the role of perceived stigma and attitudes toward mental health treatment. We then present data from a longitudinal study of United States Air Force Security Forces following a year-long high-risk deployment to Iraq-including findings regarding who seeks help, for what problems, and from which providers. We also examine whether these findings differ for Airmen in a married or committed relationship versus nonpartnered Airmen and, for the former group, whether findings differ for those in a distressed versus nondistressed relationship. Finally, we discuss implications of these findings for extending couple-based interventions to service members and veterans, and describe a multitiered "stepped" approach for promoting relationship resiliency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Couples
  • Help-seeking
  • Military
  • Resiliency
  • Stigma
  • Veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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