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Prevalence of Mental Health Problems and Willingness to Participate in a Mindfulness Treatment: an Examination Among Veterans Injured in Combat

  • Adrian J. BravoEmail author
  • Katie Witkiewitz
  • Michelle L. Kelley
  • Jason C. Redman


Numerous studies have demonstrated that combat-exposed military veterans are at risk for numerous psychiatric disorders and rates of comorbid mental health and substance use disorders are high. Veterans wounded in combat are a particularly high-risk group of military veterans; however, treatment services are often underutilized among this group and it is unclear whether an online treatment program that targets emotional and physical distress (including mental health symptoms and substance use disorders) would be appealing to veterans wounded in combat. The goal of the current study was to conduct formative research on whether veterans wounded in combat would be interested in an online mindfulness-based treatment to help them cope with emotional and physical discomfort. We recruited veterans from the Combat Wounded Coalition (n = 163; 74.2% non-Hispanic white, 95.7% male) to complete an online survey of mental health and substance use disorder symptoms and willingness to participate in mindfulness treatment. The majority of participants reported significant mental health symptoms and indicated that they would be willing to participate in mindfulness treatment, either at the VA (54.0%) or online (59.5%). Those with problems in multiple health domains and lower self-compassion were significantly more likely to express interest in treatment and likely to represent a very high need group of veterans. The development of a mindfulness-based treatment for this group of individuals could be very helpful in reducing mental health symptoms and improving quality of life among wounded warriors.


Military Mental health Mindfulness Treatment seeking Wounded warriors 



The authors would like to thank members of the Combat Wounded Coalition for their participation.

Authors’ Contributions

AJB conceptualized the research questions; conducted the analyses; drafted the “Introduction,” “Method,” “Data analyses,” and “Results” sections; and created the tables. KW assisted with the analysis, interpretation of the data, and drafted parts of the “Introduction” and “Discussion” sections. MLK designed and executed the study, wrote parts of the “Introduction” and “Discussion” sections, and edited other sections of the manuscript. JCR collaborated with the design and execution of the study and edited all sections of the manuscript. All authors contributed to and approved of the final manuscript.


This work was supported by a grant from the American Psychological Association to Michelle L. Kelley from the Society for Military Psychology (Division 19). Adrian J. Bravo is supported by a training grant (T32-AA018108) from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in our study were approved by the institutional review board at Old Dominion University and in accordance with the ethical standards of the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the present study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse, and AddictionsUniversity of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA
  3. 3.Old Dominion UniversityVirginia Consortium Program in Clinical PsychologyVirginiaUSA
  4. 4.Founder, Combat Wounded CoalitionOvercome AcademyChesapeakeUSA

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