Effects of reintegration difficulties, perceived message acceptance and perceived autonomy support on U.S. military Veterans’ evaluations of messages encouraging them to seek behavioral health care

This online experiment integrates confirmation, politeness, and self-determination theories to examine how Veterans evaluate family members’ messages encouraging them to seek behavioral health care. Veterans (N = 226) evaluated messages manipulated to express high or low levels of acceptance and autonomy support, completed outcome measures (persuasiveness, relational impact, identity management, emotions), and reported on their own reintegration difficulties. Positive associations were found between perceived message acceptance and three outcomes, and perceived autonomy support and two outcomes. Reintegration difficulties were associated with more negative message perceptions. Perceived acceptance and autonomy support also mediated a number of associations between manipulated message features and outcomes, as well as reintegration difficulties and outcomes. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.