Postdeployment Behavioral Health Screening: Face-to-Face Versus Virtual Behavioral Health Interviews

Sipos, Maurice L.; Foran, Heather M.; Crane, Maria L.; Wood, Michael D.; Wright, Kathleen M.
May 2012
Military Medicine;May2012, Vol. 177 Issue 5, p525
Academic Journal
Virtual behavioral health (VBH) services are used frequently to address the high demand for behavioral health (BH) services in the military. Few studies have investigated the relationship between the use of VBH services and BH outcomes or preferences for the use of VBH technologies. In this article, we evaluated BH interviews conducted via video teleconferencing (VTC) or face-to-face in terms of BH symptoms, satisfaction rates, stigma, barriers to care, and preferences for future use of BH care. Soldiers (n = 307) from the headquarters element of an operational unit were surveyed 4 months following a 12-month deployment to Iraq. There were no significant differences in satisfaction rates based on interview modality, but significantly more soldiers preferred face-to-face interviews over VTC interviews in the future. Soldiers who preferred face-to-face interviews also reported higher levels of anxiety and depression symptoms than those who preferred VTC interviews. No significant age differences were found in terms of interview modality satisfaction or preference. Soldiers with greater deployment experience were more likely to report that they would not like using VTC if seeking BH care in the future than soldiers with less deployment experience. These findings highlight the importance of promoting choice in type of BH interview modality.


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