Term of Award

Fall 2017

Degree Name

Master of Science in Experimental Psychology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Dr. Bryant Smalley

Committee Member 1

Dr. Jacob Warren

Committee Member 2

Dr. Jeff Klibert


Rural veterans face significant disparities to health care that have resulted in lower physical and mental health related quality of life when compared to their urban counterparts (Weeks et al., 2006). Such disparities are further complicated by the six-fold increase in prevalence of mental health diagnoses among Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans (Seal et al., 2009). These rising rates are particularly relevant to rural veterans as they represent 41% of the overall Veteran Health Administration enrollees, but only 19% of the general population (U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs, 2012; U.S. Census Bureau, 2014). Rural veterans face three barriers that affect their access and utilization of Veterans Affairs mental health services including distance, stigma, and a lack of mental health providers. Home based telemental health (HBTMH) services were developed to address the barriers that rural veterans face by providing them with clinical video teleconferencing in real time with a remote mental health provider while in their homes via their personal computer’s webcam and Internet connection (Shore et al., 2012). To examine preference of HBTMH among veterans and active duty military personnel, the current study’s hypotheses were: 1) rural veterans would be more likely than their urban counterparts to prefer HBTMH services over telemental health delivered at a VA facility and traditional face-to-face mental health services; 2) the relationship between rurality and preference for HBTMH would be moderated by both age and level of comfort with technology, such that rural veterans who report a younger age and a higher degree of comfort with technology would prefer the option of HBTMH health over VA telemental health delivered at a facility and traditional face-to-face mental health services compared to older veterans who report a low degree of comfort with technology; and 3) rural veterans who report more financial, transportation, and stigma barriers to receipt of care would be more likely to prefer HBTMH over telemental health delivered at a VA facility and traditional face-to-face mental health services. However, the results for each hypothesis were non-significant. Future research should ensure that veterans have a robust understanding of what HBTMH is and use sampling strategies that recruit a diverse range of veterans and/or active duty service members.

Research Data and Supplementary Material