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Jennifer B. Armstrong is a 2015 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, Seattle.

Dissertation Committee

  • Alejandra Suarez, PhD, Committee Chair
  • Bill Huesler, PsyD, Committee Member
  • Douglas M. Kerr, PhD, Committee Member

Document Type

Dissertation

Publication Date

2015

Abstract

Little research has examined the role that loneliness and perceived stigmatization play in the decision to seek mental health services among older adults enrolled in opiate substitution treatment. Researchers studying this at-risk population have called for more studies to examine services that can be implemented within current opiate substitution treatment settings. This study advances research in the field by utilizing standardized self-report measures to examine the relationship between loneliness, perceived stigmatization, and the impact of said variables on the utilization of available mental health services among older adults enrolled in opiate substitution treatment programs. Ninety-four 50-71-year-old adults from an opiate substitution treatment program completed self-report measures querying age, degree of perceived stigmatization, perception of loneliness, and engagement in mental health services. Results indicated that participants who reported feeling greater loneliness and perceived stigmatization were more likely to utilize available mental health services, not supporting the primary hypothesis; however, identifying that participants’ experiencing greater difficulty were willing to seek supportive services. A significant relationship was identified between loneliness and perceived stigmatization, supporting a secondary hypothesis regarding the impact of compounding factors experienced by older adults in opiate substitution treatment. This study demonstrated the importance of the availability of mental health services for older adults in opiate substitution treatment settings, particularly targeting those experiencing a higher degree of loneliness and perceived stigmatization. Mental health services may help to alleviate the burden of the complex interaction of substance abuse and aging. The electronic version of this dissertation is at OhioLink ETD Center, www.ohiolink.edu/etd

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ORCID Scholar ID # 0000-0002-2423-2207