Emerging adult military members and veterans (MMV) are experiencing many transitions (e.g., adulthood, military). The sum of these changes can cause stress, anxiety, and mental health challenges. Stigma of mental health and treatment exists, and military populations are often not seeking or engaging in appropriate care. Recent research emphasizes the need to uncover mental health attitudes and self-stigma barriers regarding help seeking. We evaluated the impact of a single motivational-interviewing enhanced interview with 26 MMV, all who reported high risk substance use. In 75-minute interviews with the primary focus of discussing their experiences regarding mental health, substance use, and identity development, the interviewer incorporated motivational interviewing strategies (e.g., affirmations, complex reflections). Participants shared their developmental experiences, stressors transitioning, and barriers and stigma around mental health treatment. Participants completed a survey which included a variety of standardized measures and open-ended questions two weeks before and after the interview. Qualitative follow-up data via open ended questions shows the session was well received by participants as they could share their stories, think critically about their military experiences, and brainstorm solutions for mental health care. We conclude that using individual, confidential interviews to discuss sensitive topics for data collection with MMV is an area to continue developing. Conducting qualitative research with motivational interviewing strategies has the potential to be twofold: advance scholarship and inform practitioners, but also serve as a therapeutic platform for some participants.
- Emerging adults
- Motivational interviewing
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health