Small unit leader perceptions of managing soldier behavioral health and associated factors

Lindsay M. Mallick, Mary M. Mitchell, Amy Millikan-Bell, M. Shayne Gallaway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This investigation explored squad leaders' perceptions of their roles managing subordinate soldiers' behavioral health (BH) needs. The data were obtained through an anonymous survey of 458 squad leaders (i.e., small unit leaders who oversee 4-10 soldiers). More than 80% of squad leaders perceived management of soldier BH needs before, during, and after treatment as their responsibility, and felt comfortable and capable of executing these roles. Latent class analysis was used to determine groups of "most active," "moderately active," and "least active" leaders. Multinomial logistic regression was used to compare the least and most active classes. The most active leaders were more likely to report high BH knowledge, dedication to a common purpose, and low levels of "associative" stigma. These results should inform leader management of soldier BH. Future research should examine active leader characteristics and whether evidence-based training can increase support for preventing and managing BH issues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-161
Number of pages15
JournalMilitary Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2016


  • Behavioral health
  • Leadership
  • Military
  • Squad leaders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)


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