Ph.D. Social Psychology
M.A. General Psychology
B.A. General Psychology
Introduction to Psychology
ProfileDr. Thomas Britt is a Professor of Social and Organizational Psychology at Clemson University. He has published over 60 empirical articles and multiple book chapters, and has been an editor for a book and 4-volume series in areas of Military Psychology. His articles have been published in leading journals such as Psychological Review, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Journal of Personality, and the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology. His military research program investigates how stigma and other barriers to care influence military personnel seeking needed mental health treatment, and the identification of factors that promote resilience among military personnel following deployments. His research has been funded by multiple grants and contracts from the Department of Defense and Medical Research Command, including a recent 1.1 million dollar grant.
DETERMINANTS OF SEEKING TREATMENT FOR PSYCHOLOGICAL PROBLEMS IN HIGH STRESS OCCUPATIONS
Individuals with psychological problems will often avoid seeking treatment because of the stigma associated with admitting such problems, and because of barriers such as not having enough time or being uncertain about getting care. Our team has investigated the stigma associated with seeking treatment for psychological problems and the barriers these individuals encounter. We have also examined the stigma of seeking treatment for psychological problems in the work environment, and have found support for the hypothesis that individuals who report having problems but do not seek help report greater stigma than those who get help from various sources, and that stigma and barriers to care exacerbate the effects of life stressors.
Current and Future Projects:
I recently received two grants from the Department of Defense to study the multiple determinants of whether soldiers seek needed treatment for mental health problems. The first 3-year grant was for 1.15 million dollars, and involves conducting both qualitative and quantitative studies. We are currently in the first year of this grant, which involves two qualitative research studies. The first involves interviews with active duty soldiers who have sought treatment for mental health problems with the intent on returning to their unit. Our goals are to understand how they overcame the stigma and other barriers to seeking treatment, and to identify factors that facilitate treatment seeking. The second study involves conducting focus groups with soldiers of different ranks to better understand the factors involved in the decision to seek mental health treatment, and to better understand how soldiers perceive those who seek treatment and whether they possess an adequate understanding of what goes on during mental health treatment. The results of these two studies will involve a longitudinal quantitative study of treatment seeking in Year 2 of the grant, and the development of an intervention to improve attitudes toward treatment seeking in Year 3 of the grant.
We have also received a grant to examine barriers to mental health treatment for combat veterans returning from operations in Afganistan and Iraq who are members of the reserve component (Reserves and National Guard). These veterans have unique issues as a result of returning to civilian life in locations that may not have easy access to military treatment centers. Our research is designed to better understand the barriers facing these veterans and designing interventions to reduce the barriers. I have received funding for the past three years to address these issues (approximately 120K per year).
ORGANIZATIONAL STRESS AND RESILIENCY
Employees encounter stress in virtually all occupations, but certain occupations can be characterized as “high stress.” My interest in this area addresses factors that enhance the resiliency of personnel in high stress environments. These factors include high quality leadership, performing meaningful work, and a sense of optimism and hope that a mission is succeeding. Our ultimate goal is to design organizational stress interventions that will reduce the levels of stress facing employees and allow them to thrive under stress that cannot be avoided by focusing on the importance and meaning of their work.
Current and Future Projects:
I am currently involved with multiple projects addressing resiliency factors for employees in high stress occupations. I have publications in press on the role of sleep and optimism as protective factors, and am working on two manuscripts addressing the role of morale and perceptions of benefits from participating in combat operations. In addition to this research, we have also examined organizational stress and resiliency among university employees and hospital personnel. In these projects we assess numerous sources of stress, as well as examining positive motivational states at work, such as self-efficacy, optimism, hope, and work-family balance. We are examining the ability of stressors and positive motivational states to predict well-being and supervisor-rated performance.
A RESOURCES MODEL OF PSYCHOLOGICAL ENERGY
My undergraduate creative inquiry team has been devoted to developing a new model and measure of psychological energy focusing on energy as the perceived resources an individual has available for accomplishing different types of tasks (i.e. physical tasks, mental tasks, and emotional tasks). Our team has developed both state and trait measures of different types of energy, and has conducted a number of experiments to address the construct validity of the measure. We are currently in the process of analyzing data from these experiments and preparing manuscripts based on the studies. Undergraduate students from the creative inquiry team will be authors on these manuscripts.
Britt, T.W., Greene-Shortridge, T.M., Brink, S., Nguyen, Q.B., Rath, J. Cox, A.L., Hoge, C.W., & Castro, C.A. (2008). Perceived stigma and barriers to care for psychological treatment: Implications for reactions to stressors in different contexts. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 27, 317-335.
Herleman, H.A., Britt, T.W., & Hashima, P. (2008). Ibasho and the adjustment, satisfaction, and well-being of expatriate spouses. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 32, 282-299.
Britt, T.W., Millard, M. R., Sundareswaran, P.T., & Moore, D. (2009). Personality variables predict strength-related attitude dimensions across objects. Journal of Personality, 77, 859-882.
McKibben, E.S., Britt, T.W., Castro, C.A., & Hoge, C. W. (2009). Receipt and rated adequacy of stress management training are related to PTSD and other outcomes among Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans. Military Psychology, 21, S68-S81.
Britt, T.W., McKibben, E.S. Greene-Shortridge, T.M., Beeco, A., Bodine, A. Calcaterra, J., Evers, T., McNab, J., & West, A. (2010). Self engagement as a predictor of performance and emotional reactions to performance outcomes. British Journal of Social Psychology, 49, 237-257.
Scisco, J., Haack, L., & Britt, T.W., & Muth, E. (2010). The effect of parental divorce on discomfort and cardiac activity in response to public displays of affection in college females. The Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 51(4), 221-237.
Adler, A.B., Britt, T.W., Castro, C.A., McGurk, D., & Bliese, P.D. (2011). The impact of transition from combat to home on well-being. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 24, 381-389.
Bennett, E., Crabtree, M., Schaffer, M., & Britt, T.W. (2011). Mental health status and perceived barriers to seeking treatment in rural Reserve Component veterans. Journal of Rural Social Sciences, 26, 74-100.
Britt, T.W., Bennett, E.A., Crabtree, M., Haugh, C., Oliver, K., & McFadden, A. (2011). The Theory of Planned Behavior and Reserve Component veteran treatment seeking. Military Psychology,23, 82-96.
Britt, T.W., Pusilo, C., McKibben, E.S., Kelley, C., Baker, A.N., & Nielson, K.A. (2011). Personality and strength-related attitude dimensions: Between and within-person relationships. Journal of Research in Personality, 45, 586-596.
Gosnell, C.S., Britt, T.W., & McKibben, E.S. (2011). Self-presentation in everyday life: Effort, closeness, and satisfaction. Self and Identity, 10, 18-31.
Kim, P.Y., Britt, T.W., Klocko, R.B., Riviere, L.A., & Adler, A.B. (2011). Negative attitudes about treatment and utilization of mental health care among soldiers. Military Psychology,23, 65-81.
Thomas, J.T., Britt, T.W., Odle-Dusseau, H.N., & Bliese, P.D. (2011). Dispositional optimism as a two-way buffer for Iraq War veterans’ symptoms and work impairment. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 67, 866-880.
Wood, J.M., Tyrrell, R.A., Marszalek, R., Lacherez, P., Chapparro, A., & Britt, T.W. (2011). Using biological motion to enhance the conspicuity of roadway workers. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 43, 1036-1041.
Wood, M.D., Britt, T.W., Thomas, J.L., Klocko, R.P., & Bliese, P.D. (2011). Buffering effects of benefit finding in a war environment. Military Psychology, 23, 202-219.
Wright, K.M., Britt, T.W., Adler, A.B., & Bliese, P.D. (2011). Insomnia severity, combat exposure, and mental health outcomes. Stress and Health, 27, 325-333.
Wright, K.M., Britt, T.W., Bliese, P.D., Adler, A.B., Picchioni, D., & Moore, D. (2011). Insomnia as predictor versus outcome of PTSD and depression among Iraq combat veterans. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 67, 1240-1258.
Ben-Zeev, D., Corrigan, P.W., Britt, T.W., & Langford, L. (2012). Stigma of mental illness and service use in the military. Journal of Mental Health, 21, 264-273.
Britt, T.W., McKibben, E.S., Greene-Shortridge, T.M., Odle-Dusseau, H.N., & Herleman, H.A. (2012). Self engagement moderates the mediated relationship between organizational constraints and organizational citizenship behaviors via rated leadership. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 42, 1830-1846.
Britt, T.W., Wright, K.M., & Moore, D. (2012). Leadership as a predictor of stigma and practical barriers toward receiving mental health treatment: A multilevel approach. Psychological Services, 9, 26-37.
Odle-Dusseau, H.N., Britt, T.W., Bobko, P. (2012). Work-family balance, well-being, and organizational outcomes: Investigating actual versus desired work/family time discrepancies. Journal of Business and Psychology, 27, 331-343.
Odle-Dusseau, H.N., Britt, T.W., & Greene-Shortridge, T.M. (2012). Organizational work-family policies as resources as predictors of job performance and attitudes: The process of work-family conflict and enrichment. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 17, 28-40.
Wood, M.D., Britt, T.W., Wright, K.M., Thomas, J.L., & Bliese, P.D. (2012). Benefit finding at war: A matter of time. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 25, 307-314.
Wood, M.D., Foran, H.M., Britt, T.W., & Wright, K.M. (2012). The impact of benefit-finding and leadership on combat-related PTSD symptoms. Military Psychology, 24, 529-541.
Zinzow, H., Britt, T.W., McFadden, A., Burnette, C., Gillespie, S. (2012). Connecting active duty and returning veterans to mental health treatment: Interventions and treatment adaptations that may reduce barriers to care. Clinical Psychology Review, 32, 741-753.
Britt, T.W., Adler, A.B., Bliese, P.D., & Moore, D. (in press). Morale as a moderator of the combat exposure-PTSD symptom relationship. Journal of Traumatic Stress.
Odle-Dusseau, H.N., Herleman, H.A., Britt, T.W., Moore, D.M., Castro, C.A., McGurk, D., & Hoge, C.W. (in press). Family-supportive work environments and psychological Strain: A longitudinal test of two theories. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology.
Books and Book Chapters
Jex, S.M., & Britt, T.W. (2008). Organizational psychology: A scientist-practitioner approach (2nd Edition). Wiley Publishers: Hoboken, NJ.
Britt, T. W., & Pury, C. L. S. (2008). Counseling Military Personnel Following Traumatic Events: The Joint Roles of Military Culture and International Transitions. N. Arthur (Ed.) Critical Incidents in Counseling for International Transitions.
Greene-Shortridge, T. M., & Britt, T. W. (2008). Leadership. In S. Lopez (Ed.), The Encyclopedia of Positive Psychology. Oxford, England:Blackwell Publishing.
Wood, M.D., & Britt, T.W. (2010). Military benefit finding: Turning adversity to advantage. In P.T. Bartone, R.H. Pastel, & M.A. Vaitkus (Eds.), The 71F advantage: Applying Army research psychology for health and performance gains (pp. 247-261). Washington, DC: National Defense University Press.
Adler, A.B., Zamorski, M., & Britt, T.W. (2011). The psychology of transition: Adapting to home after deployment. In A.B. Adler, P.D. Bliese, & C.A. Castro (Eds.), Deployment psychology: The impact of combat on mental health (pp. 153-174). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Boniecki, K. A., Thomas, A. D., Gowin, K. C., & Britt, T. W. (2012). Prejudice towards people with mental illness: An integrated threat approach. In D. W. Russell (Ed.) The psychology of prejudice: Contemporary issues. Hauppauge, NY: Nova.
Britt, T.W., & McFadden, A. (2012). Understanding mental health treatment seeking in high stress occupations. In J. Houdmont, S. Leka, & R. Sinclair (Eds.), Contemporary occupational health psychology: Global perspectives on research and practice (pp. 57-73). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell Publishers.
Sinclair, R.R., & Britt, T.W. (Eds)(in press). Building resilience in military personnel: Theory and practice. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Britt, T.W., Sinclair, R.R., & McFadden, A. (in press). Introduction: The meaning and importance of military resilience. In R. Sinclair & T.W. Britt (Eds.), Building resilience in military personnel: Theory and practice. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Britt, T.W., & Oliver, K. (in press). Morale and cohesion as contributors to resiliency. In R.R. Sinclair & T.W. Britt (Eds.), Building resilience in military personnel: Theory and practice. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Sinclair, R.R., & Britt, T.W. (in press). Military resilience: Remaining questions and concluding comments. In R.R. Sinclair & T.W. Britt (Eds.), Building resilience in military personnel: Theory and practice. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.