Journal of Military Psychology | Resilience and attitudes toward help-seeking as correlates of psychological well-being among a sample of New Zealand Defence Force personnel

Melanie A. Hom, Ian de Tert, Clare Bennett & Thomas E. Joiner

Research is needed to examine factors that contribute to psychological well-being among military service members. This study examined associations between various indices of psychological well-being, resilience, and help-seeking stigma among New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel (N = 2,805). Participants completed self-report measures of psychological well-being, resilience, help-seeking stigma, and past-year help-seeking behaviors. Greater resilience and a lower degree of help-seeking stigma were each significantly associated with better psychological well-being (i.e., greater psychological flourishing, less psychological distress, and better overall mental health). Though effects were relatively small, engagement in help-seeking behaviors moderated the relationship between (1) greater resilience and less psychological distress and (2) greater resilience and better overall mental health, such that these relationships were stronger among those who had sought help for their mental health in the past year. Findings suggest that greater resilience and less mental health help-seeking stigma may independently contribute to better psychological well-being among NZDF personnel; thus, enhancing resilience and reducing help-seeking stigma may serve to promote psychological well-being in this population. Improving resilience among NZDF personnel who seek help, in particular, may contribute to better psychological well-being. However, longitudinal research among service members is needed to establish a temporal relationship between these constructs.