Predicting help-seeking attitudes and intentions in a Latino/a sample.

Amy E. Cantazaro (2010). Iowa State University.


There were two main goals of this study. The first goal was to test the generalizability of the help-seeking model developed by Vogel, Wester, Wei, and Boysen (2005) in a Latino/a college student sample. The second goal of this study was to assess whether the model fit would be improved when three culture-related, independent variables (i.e., acculturation, enculturation, and cultural congruity of local mental health services) were added into Vogel et al.’s (2005) model. Participants were 424 students all of whom self-identified as Latino, Latina, or Hispanic. Data were analyzed using path analysis. Indirect effects were assessed using a bootstrapping technique. Results indicate that the original model developed by Vogel et al. (2005) for predicting help-seeking attitudes and intentions can be applied to a Latino/a sample. More specifically, comfort with self-disclosure, sex (being female), anticipated utility, social norm, and previous treatment were positively associated with attitudes toward seeking professional help. Social support, social stigma, and selfstigma were negatively related with attitudes toward seeking professional help. Attitudes toward seeking counseling was, in turn, related to intentions to seek help for all three concerns (i.e., interpersonal, drug/alcohol, and academic). Moreover, results of the bootstrap analysis indicate all of these indirect effects are statistically significant. Regarding the direct effects, current distress level and anticipated utility were both positively related to intentions to seek help for interpersonal and academic issues while anticipated utility was negatively related to intentions to seek help for interpersonal and drug/alcohol concerns. The results also indicate that the inclusion of acculturation in the model significantly added to the prediction of intentions to seek help for drug or alcohol concerns in this group.


Contact and Stigma Toward Mental Illness: Measuring the Effectiveness of Two Video Interventions.

Ashley H. Hackler (2010). Iowa State University.


Researchers have demonstrated that mental illness stigma is both prevalent in our society and has serious negative consequences for mentally ill persons and their friends and family (Corrigan, 2004a). One of the ways researchers have found to reduce mental health stigma is through contact with persons with mental illness (Corrigan et al., 2002; Desforges et al., 1991; Schulze, Richter-Werling, & Angermeyer, 2003). Researchers have also shown that indirect methods of contact, such as videos, can be both effective in reducing stigma toward mental illness and in reaching large groups of individuals (Reinke, Corrigan, Leonhard, Lundin, & Kubiak, 2004). The goal of the current study is to assess the impact of two different video interventions involving indirect contact with persons with mental illness on reducing stigma. The first focused on personal stories of those experiencing mental illness. The second focused on the stories of friends and family members in their support of those experiencing mental illness. The two treatment videos were compared at three time points (pre-test, post-test, and follow-up) to a control video. Participants were 319 undergraduates at a large mid-western university. Results using mixed model Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) indicated the treatment interventions did not significantly impact stigma toward mental illness when compared to the control condition, though, all videos led to some short-term changes in stigma. Future studies aimed at reducing stigma may want to more closely examine the necessary ingredients associated with changing stigma when using a video intervention.


The Effects of Mental Health Education on Reducing Stigma and Increasing Positve Atttudes Towards Seeking Therapy

Heather L. Hobson (2008) Humbolt State University


Stigma associated with mental health care is an important factor in people’s decision to seek out and engage in psychotherapy or counseling. Many previous studies have suggested that educating individuals about mental health can be an effective tool in reducing stigma towards seeking mental health services. This thesis attempted to measure the effects of mental health education on students’ endorsements of self stigma and social stigma, as well as attitudes towards counseling, and intentions to seek counseling. Social stigma associated with seeking mental health services is the perception that a person who seeks psychological treatment is undesirable or socially unacceptable. Self stigma is the internalization of social stigma or the belief that if one needs psychological treatment he or she is inferior. Several surveys were used in this study to assess the relationship between social and self stigma to attitudes toward seeking psychological help and intentions to seek counseling. A Pearson Correlation revealed that there was a statistically significant positive relationship between ratings of self stigma and attitudes toward seeking psychological services and between self stigma and intentions to seek counseling. Additionally, analysis revealed a statistically significant positive relationship between social stigma and attitudes toward seeking psychological services and between social stigma and intentions to seek counseling. This study also found that the individuals in the experimental group exposed to a brief session of Mental Health Education were more likely to seek counseling services than individuals in the control group. This study did not find support for the hypothesis that individuals exposed to a brief session of Mental Health Education will have more positive attitudes toward seeking psychological services. Additionally, this study did not find support for the hypotheses that individuals exposed to Mental Health Education will have lower ratings of social stigma and self stigma. The findings here indicate that while there is a significant relationship between stigmas and attitudes toward seeking help that brief mental health education did not improve these attitudes.


Personality as a potential moderator of the relationship between stigma and help-seeking.

Phillip J. Miller (2009). Iowa State University.


Many persons who could potentially benefit from psychological services do not seek help or follow through with treatment. While there are a variety of reasons why an individual might not pursue psychological treatment, the stigma associated with seeking help has been identified as a significant obstacle. Stigma, the perception that one is flawed, is based upon a real or imagined personal characteristic that is deemed socially unacceptable. Two types of stigma (i.e., public stigma and selfstigma) are involved in the helpseeking process and serve to decrease positive attitudes toward helpseeking and one’s willingness to seek counseling. Researchers have recognized that dimensions of one’s personality (e.g., the Big Five), a pervasive aspect of human behavior, are likely to influence one’s experience of stigma and the role that stigma plays in one’s decision to seek help. The purpose of this dissertation is to investigate the role of personality in the relationship between stigma and one’s attitudes towards seeking professional assistance from a mental healthcare provider. The general hypothesis is that personality will play a moderating role in the relationship between the public stigma of seeking help and the selfstigma of seeking help, as well as the relationship between selfstigma and attitudes towards counseling. Based upon the general hypothesis, four specific hypotheses were formulated: (1) Neuroticism will amplify the statistically positive relationship between public stigma and selfstigma. (2) Neuroticism will amplify the statistically negative relationship between selfstigma and attitudes towards counseling. (3) Extraversion will moderate the relationship between public stigma and selfstigma and act as a “buffer,” so that persons with high reported Extraversion will have lower levels of selfstigma compared to individuals with low reported Extraversion. (4) Extraversion will moderate the relationship between selfstigma and attitudes towards counseling and act to enhance the relationship. University student participants (N = 784) completed an online survey with a response rate of 89.4%. The survey consisted of six parts: the IPIP NEO, SSOSH, SSRPH, ATSPPH-S, HSCL-21, and a six item demographics questionnaire. The results indicated that Neuroticism moderates the relationship between public stigma and selfstigma, but not the relationship between selfstigma and attitudes towards counseling. Even after controlling for gender, prior treatment, and psychological distress the relationships remained. It was found that as public stigma increased, those high on Neuroticism reported less selfstigma than those low on Neuroticism. Additionally, the results showed that Extraversion moderated the relationship between public stigma and selfstigma, but not the relationship between selfstigma and attitudes towards counseling, even after controlling for gender, prior treatment, and psychological distress. Those high on Extraversion reported less selfstigma at low levels of public stigma, however at high levels of public stigma those high on Extraversion reported feeling more selfstigma than those low in Extraversion. It was also found that prior exposure to treatment lessened the amount of selfstigma. Possible explanations for the findings are discussed, including the implications of the results for counseling psychology, theoretical implications, and the strengths and limitations of the study.


Factors Influencing Psychological Help Seeking Attitudes and Behavior in Counseling Trainees

Anne H. Pfohl (2011). The Ohio State University.


The purpose of the study is to examine help seeking attitudes and behaviors in graduate students studying to be counselors (e.g. mental health, school, community/agency Masters students; PhD students in Counselor Education). A random sample of 1,000 student members of the American Counseling Association was surveyed. Of the 1,000 questionnaires mailed, 310 were returned for a rate of 31%. Attitudes about psychological help seeking were assessed using the Attitudes Toward Seeking Professional Psychological Help scale (short form; Fischer & Farina, 1995). The stigma associated with seeking psychological help can also be salient to help seeking attitudes and behaviors. Two scales measuring stigma concerns for seeking psychological help were selected for the current study: the Self Stigma of Seeking Help (private stigma; Vogel, Wester, Haake, 2003), and the Social Stigma for Receiving Psychological Help (public stigma; Komiya, Goode, & Sherrod, 2000). Finally, participants’ level of comfort with disclosing distressing information to others was measured using the Distress Disclosure Index (Kahn & Hessling, 2001). Existing research also suggests that individuals’ perceptions of practical (e.g. cost, time, transportation) and emotional (e.g. stigma concerns) barriers to counseling influence their help seeking behaviors. Counseling trainees were asked about their perceived barriers to seeking psychological help as they influenced concerns about the affordability, accessibility, availability, and acceptability of seeking psychological help. In order to answer questions regarding counseling trainees’ psychological help seeking attitudes and behaviors, the statistical tools of t-tests of independent samples, analysis of variance, and multiple regression were applied. Results indicated that counseling trainees who had not previously sought psychological help held more negative attitudes toward seeking that help, and had higher levels of stigma concerns (public and private) about seeking psychological help. Level of graduate training did not appear to impact stigma concerns about seeking help. Finally, in the multiple regression analysis, predictor variables of self (private) stigma concerns, previous experience of counseling, social (public) stigma concerns, gender, and comfort with distress disclosure explained 32% of the variance in participants’ attitudes toward seeking professional psychological help scores (ATSPPHS).


Perceived social support, suicidal ideation, stigma, and help seeking behaviors among college students.

Victoria Stewart (2009). Marywood University.


This study investigated the relationships among social support, suicidal ideation, mental health public stigma, and selfstigma, and how these variables related to and affected helpseeking behaviors in undergraduate students. A second purpose of this study was to assess what mental health services college students were aware of, how likely they were to use these services, and how selfstigma affected if and when they would seek such services. Ninety-nine undergraduate students completed the Suicide Probability Scale, Personal Resource Questionnaire 2000, SelfStigma of Seeking Help Scale, Stigma Scale for Receiving Psychological Help, Resource Questionnaire, Experience with Psychological Professionals Questionnaire, and a demographic questionnaire. Results revealed that as suicide ideation increased, helpseeking behaviors decreased. Mental health public stigma and selfstigma were positively correlated, and selfstigma was negatively correlated with helpseeking behaviors. Further results indicated that males reported significantly more selfstigma than females, and individuals currently seeking mental health treatment reported less selfstigma than those individuals not seeking mental health services. Implications of findings and suggestions for decreasing barriers to mental health services are discussed.


Improving the help-seeking behaviors of soldiers who have served in a combat area.

Michael Toland (2011). Walden University.


As of 2007, an estimated 300,000 U.S. veterans were suffering from mental health issues caused by combat-related duties; many have not sought help because of mental illness stigma. According to the mental health training program efficacy framework, mental health training helps change behaviors and attitudes towards mental illness. This study’s purpose was to determine if the Army’s mental health training, Battlemind, encourages at-risk soldiers to seek care for their mental health issues. Battlemind is used to enhance soldiers’ help-seeking behaviors and psychological well-being. Research questions included understanding whether Battlemind effectively promotes positive mental health help-seeking attitudes; increases the chances soldiers will get help for their mental health problems; reduces selfstigma and perceived stigma-related barriers to care; and increases self-esteem and self-efficacy. This quantitative study used a sample of 87 soldiers who were at least 18 years old, were active duty members of the U.S. Army, served for at least 6 months in a combat role or experienced combat during deployments to either Iraq or Afghanistan, and were home from deployments for three to twelve months. Hypotheses for research questions were evaluated using ANOVA to test the statistical significance between posttest and pretest mean scores for selfstigma, self-efficacy, and self-esteem, and intent and willingness to seek help for mental health concerns. Results showed Battlemind helped increase intent and willingness to get help for mental health issues. Positive social change implications of this study include supporting the value of effective training so soldiers will get care for their mental health symptoms and, as a result, those troops become less likely to cause self-harm and increased costs to the U.S. Army.