Stigma associated with substance abuse is less understood than stigma of mental health. Moreover, neither issue has been studied in depth within the military. We conducted focus groups with soldiers at six installations to explore how perceptions regarding substance abuse and mental health issues influenced attitudes toward treatment of these issues. Analyses indicate that negative attitudes toward treatment for alcohol abuse are based on their association with infractions that precipitate treatment and acceptance for soldiers with deployment-related mental health issues. However, the military context appears to moderate the influence of perceived responsibility and danger on stigmatization. Our data suggest several strategies that may useful in reducing stigma associated with alcohol abuse treatment in the military.
Dynamics of stigma for alcohol and mental health treatment among army soldiers