Danforth, L., & Wester, S.R. (in progress). African-American men, racial identity, and attitudes as well as stigma toward seeking psychological help: The effectiveness of the elaboration likelihood model of attitude change.
It is a well-documented fact that men of color seek help even less frequently than Caucasian men, and that racial identity can be a factor in that process. This study examined whether or not one’s negative attitudes regarding, and stigma toward, help seeking can be improved through the use of a brochure intervention. The brochure is based upon the elaboration liklihood model, and is accordingly designed to dispel certain myths about counseling while also discussing the benefits of counseling in a “male-friendly” manner. Seventy men of color to date have participated. Regression findings suggest that stigma towards seeking help increases as scores on the PA and PM subscales of racial identity scale decrease, perhaps because as men of color transition from these stages they become more skeptical of therapy. Also, stigma toward seeking help increases as anti-White attitudes increase perhaps because therapy is seen as a White activity performed by mostly White counselors. ANOVA findings suggest that the brochure is having some effect on participants, in that those who have been exposed it report lower levels of GRC. This could be due to brochure content or it could be due to participants becoming sensitized to the material. It also suggests that the central route toward attitude change tapped by our brochure might not have been attitudes towards seeking help, but rather gender role conflict.
Drabek, A. (in preparation). Prison officers use of mental health services.
Prison officers use different sources of social and professional psychological support when encountering stressful situations at work or at home. The decision to seek a psychologist is influenced by a variety of factors. The likelihood of seeking psychological help, the severity of the problem, sex, self-stigma, social stigma and self-disclosure were assessed using self- designed work and life situations as well as three scales (SSOSH, SSRPH and DDI). The sample consisted of 121 prison officers from correctional facilities all over Austria. In case of stressful private situations, private sources of support or external psychologists were used. On the contrary, in case of stressful situations at work, work sources or prison psychologist were consulted. An exception posed the burnout situation. No sex differences were found. The likelihood of seeking professional psychological support was best predicted by problem severity, previous experience with psychologists and male gender (trend). Social stigma and self-stigma predicted this probability only in some situations; self-disclosure was found to be an unsuitable predictor. The practical implications of these findings are discussed.
Kendra, M. A. (in progress). Mental illness symptoms and mental illness stigma: A test of bidirectional influences.
Examining stigmatization experiences among community members with mental illness. Specifically, examining the bidirectional relationships between mental illness stigma variables (self-stigma, perceived public stigma, frequency/intensity of stigmatization experiences) and psychosocial functioning (psychiatric symptoms, functional impairment due to mental illness, self-esteem) using a daily diary approach.
Kendra, M.S., & Mohr, J. J. (in preparation). The stigma of having psychological problems: Relations with engagement, the working alliance, and depression in the early phase of psychotherapy.
The stigma of having psychological problems is a known barrier to seeking mental health treatment, but little research has examined whether this stigma influences the experiences of those who enter treatment. University counseling center clients (N = 42) completed surveys assessing perceived public stigma, self-stigma, depression, working alliance, and therapeutic engagement after the first few psychotherapy sessions. Stigma variables were unrelated to engagement in treatment. Initial self-stigma level was positively associated with initial depression level and negatively associated with initial working alliance rating. Moreover, decreases in depression over time were most pronounced among clients entering therapy with high self-stigma.
Maier, J. A., Gentile, D. A., Vogel, D. L., & Kaplan, S. A. (under review). Person perception and media influences on self-stigma of seeking help.
Self-stigma of seeking help has been identified as an important roadblock to seeking psychological help (Corrigan, 2004). Perceptions of therapists, people going to therapy, and people suffering from a mental illness were tested as predictors for self-stigma. Study 1 found that both perceptions of therapists and perceptions of people going to therapy uniquely predicted self-stigma, and but perceptions of the mentally ill indirectly influenced self-stigma through perceptions of clients. Study 2 looked at the role of the media as an informational source shaping these perceptions. Results supported that the portrayals of characters who are therapists, who are going to therapy, or who are suffering from a mental illness did influence the corresponding real-life perceptions. A model of media portrayal influencing perceptions of real life figures which then influence self-stigma was supported in study 2.
Tucker, J. (in progress). The change in self-stigma following a single session of group counseling: A comparison to a focus group session.
Evidence suggests that group counseling is effective in reducing the levels of self-stigma related to seeking psychological help. Still, there is a lack of understanding into how the self-stigma of seeking psychological help behaves before, after, and in the absence of group counseling. The proposed study uses an experimental design to examine the effects of a single group counseling session on levels of the self-stigma of seeking psychological help. The four primary hypotheses are 1) that a single session of group process therapy will lead to significantly greater reductions in the self-stigma of seeking help than either a focus group on student stress or a no treatment condition, 2) that these reductions will remain significant at two week follow-up, 3) that four group therapy variables—working alliance—bond with the counselor, session depth, level of group engagement, and identification with other group members—will predict reductions in self-stigma, and 4) that the self-stigma of seeking help, session depth, and group identification will be significant predictors of interest in continuing with counseling.
Wester, S.R., Arndt, L.R., & Danforth, L. (in progress). Male military veterans and attitudes toward seeking psychological help: The roles of stigma, risk, benefit, and gender role conflict.
Brooks (1998) asserted that some male veterans of military service experience a greater pull toward the more maladaptive aspects of their gender role socialization, and therefore greater GRC, than do other men merely by virtue of being in a profession that explicitly teaches and rewards such behaviors. More recently, Lorber and Garcia (2010) asserted that the strong gender role messages inherent to military service, coupled with GRC, would lead to increased stigma associated with seeking psychological help, and therefore a decreased likelihood of doing so. However, a variable heretofore untested in this relationship is the role of an individual’s outcome expectations (Vogel & Wester, 2003). Results with populations of men working in environments steeped in traditional masculinity (i.e., law enforcement; Wester, Arndt, Sedivy, & Arndt, 2010) suggest that the degree to which an individual man sees either risks or benefits associated with counseling might mediate the relationship amongst GRC, stigma, and help seeking behaviors. Seventy four male veterans of military service have, to date, completed this research. Regression results indicate that Self Stigma , Anticipated Risk, and Anticipated Benefit all seem to partially mediate the relationship between GRC and attitudes toward seeking psychological help. This potentially means that an awareness of both the risks and the benefits of seeking counseling have an impact on attitudes regarding counseling has an impact on male veterans perceptions of help seeking above and beyond the gender role onpact theorized on by Lorber and Garcia. Anticipated risks significantly predicted poorer attitudes toward counseling. Anticipated benefit predicted more positive attitudes toward counseling. Stigma predicted negative and positive attitudes toward counseling.