College of Psychology Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Department

Center for Psychological Studies

First Advisor

Barry Nierenberg

Second Advisor

Christian DeLucia

Third Advisor

Jedidiah Siev

Fourth Advisor

William I. Dorfman

Keywords

Military, trust, veterans

Abstract

Service members have reported the perception that seeking treatment for, and/or having a mental illness will cause a loss of trust between a service member and his/her leaders and peers (Nash, Silva, and Litz, 2009; Hoge et al, 2004). This study aimed to determine if the presence of a mental illness affects the trust between service members and determine whether other variables moderated this relationship. Using social media and Mechanical Turk an internet participant-recruiting site operated by Amazon, data were collected from 220 military Veterans. Participants were assessed using a research developed Demographics Questionnaire, the Combat Exposure Scale, The Unit Cohesion Scale, and the Trust in Teams Scale. Participants were randomized into three groups. Each of the three groups read a different scenario depicting a service member. Results of this study do not support the existence of a measureable loss in trust with disclosure of a mental illness. A significant increase in predictability and global trust scores was observed when participants read the scenario different scenarios. The results, specifically that trust did not change as a function of a unit member displaying symptoms of mental illness and that treatment for a mental illness, improved trust scores on the facets of global trust and predictability, provide the basis for future research into this area.

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