Racial/Ethnic Differences in Attitudes Toward Seeking Professional Mental Health Services

Department of Mental Hygiene, Johns Hopkins University, 111 Market Pl, Room 3059, Baltimore, MD 21202, USA.
American Journal of Public Health (Impact Factor: 4.55). 05/2001; 91(5):805-7. DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.91.5.805
Source: PubMed


This study examined racial/ethnic differences in attitudes toward seeking mental health services.
Data from the National Comorbidity Survey, which administered a structured diagnostic interview to a representative sample of the US population (N = 8098), were analyzed. Multiple logistic regression was used, and data were stratified by need for mental health services.
African Americans with depression were more likely than Whites with depression to "definitely go" (odds ratio [OR] = 1.8, P < .001) seek mental health services. African Americans with severe psychiatric disorders were less likely to be "somewhat embarrassed if friends knew they sought care" (OR = 0.3, P < .001) than were their White counterparts.
African Americans reported more positive attitudes toward seeking mental health services than did Whites.

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    • "Given that help-seeking attitudes are multifaceted, there has been increased focus on understanding (a) individuals' stigma concerns associated with seeking professional psychological services, (b) individuals' comfort with acknowledging personal psychological problems, and (c) individuals' willingness to seek help from professionals , as they may each play a unique role in psychological distress. Fear of stigma may be a particularly salient concern among African American women (Diala et al., 2001; Nadeem et al., 2007). Given African American women's double minority status, the stigma associated with seeking professional psychological services may create an additional unwanted burden. "
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    ABSTRACT: The Strong Black Woman (SBW) race-gender schema prompts African American women to use self-reliance and self-silence as coping strategies in response to stressors. Utilizing the coping strategies associated with the SBW race-gender schema could trigger anxiety and depression symptoms that may intensify when coupled with negative attitudes toward professional psychological help. The present study investigated whether African American women's endorsement of the SBW race-gender schema predicted increased symptoms of anxiety and depression and whether attitudes toward professional psychological help-seeking intensified psychological distress. Data were collected from 95 participants ranging in age from 18 to 65. Hierarchical regression analysis demonstrated significant main effects for the SBW race-gender schema and greater anxiety and depression, respectively. Greater indifference to stigma, 1 dimension of help-seeking attitudes, predicted lower levels of anxiety. African American women's attitudes toward professional help-seeking did not moderate the associations between endorsement of the SBW race-gender schema and anxiety or depression, respectively. Finally, endorsement of the SBW race-gender schema was inversely and significantly associated with 2 facets of help-seeking attitudes: (a) psychological openness and (b) help-seeking propensity. Taken together, these findings provide empirical support for the role of cultural factors, like the SBW race-gender schema, in African American women's experience of psychological distress and potential underutilization of mental health services. Future research directions are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
    Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology 01/2015; DOI:10.1037/cdp0000015 · 1.36 Impact Factor
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    • "The mixed research findings on racial/ethnic differences on stigma and attitudes toward seeking professional psychological treatment (e.g., Schnittker et al., 2000; Shim et al., 2009) have prompted some researchers (e.g., Diala et al., 2001) to argue that it is important to assess levels of psychological distress when studying this issue. Several studies have found that when psychological distress increases, the likelihood of seeking professional psychological treatment also increases (Constantine, Wilton, & Caldwell, 2003; Cramer, 1999; Vogel & Wei, 2005). "
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    ABSTRACT: Many college students underuse professional psychological help for mental health difficulties. The stigma associated with seeking such help appears to be one of the reasons for this underuse. Levels of psychological distress and past use of counseling/psychotherapy have been found to be important correlates of stigma associated with seeking psychological help (Obasi & Leong, 2009; Vogel, Wade, & Haake, 2006). For racial and ethnic minorities, the hindering effects of self-stigma and perceived stigmatization by others on treatment seeking may further be compounded by their relationships with their own ethnic groups, with other ethnic groups, and with the dominant society. This study used structural equation modeling (SEM) to test a model that explored the effects of psychological distress and psychocultural variables (i.e., ethnic identity, other-group orientation, perceived discrimination) on perceived stigmatization by others and self-stigma for seeking psychological help, controlling for past use of counseling/psychotherapy. The sample consisted of 260 African American, 166 Asian American, and 183 Latino American students. SEM multigroup analyses indicated measurement invariance, but partial structural invariance, across racial/ethnic groups. Across all 3 groups, higher levels of psychological distress and perceived racial/ethnic discrimination, respectively, predicted higher levels of perceived stigmatization by others for seeking psychological help, which, in turn, predicted greater self-stigma for seeking psychological help. Higher levels of other-group orientation predicted lower levels of self-stigma of seeking psychological help across groups. Higher levels of ethnic identity predicted lower levels of self-stigma of seeking psychological help only for African Americans. Implications for research and practice are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
    Journal of Counseling Psychology 01/2013; 60(1):98-111. DOI:10.1037/a0031169 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "Not surprisingly, Moberg (2005) reports that there is a growing consensus regarding the need to study spirituality and religiousness together. Spirituality appears to serve as a buffer for life stressors that are more acute for African American couples: economic deprivation, structural racism, and oppression (Bean, Perry, & Bedell, 2002; Boyd-Franklin, 2003; Diala et al., 2001; Franklin, 2004). Spirituality has been an important part of the African American experience , and its corporate manifestation through religion provides one of the few institutions some African American couples have access to and trust (Boyd-Franklin, 2003; McAdoo, 1991). "
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    ABSTRACT: This study examined the relationship between spiritual experiences of African Americans and their marital quality. Couples (N = 487) completed measures of marital quality as well as a daily spiritual experience measure and an index of religiosity. Using the standard Quality Marriage Index, actor and partner effects were found for both spouses, and these remained when religiosity was controlled. Support was also obtained for two separate dimensions of marital quality comprising evaluations of positive and negative aspects of the relationship. Husbands' spirituality was strongly inversely related to own negative marital quality whereas actor effects for wives were almost equal in absolute magnitude for both dimensions. Taking overall marital quality into account, the spirituality-negative dimension association was significantly stronger for husbands than wives. These results are discussed in terms of behaviors that may enhance spiritual experiences and factors that may mediate their relationship to marital quality. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
    Psychology of Religion and Spirituality 10/2011; 3(4):259-268. DOI:10.1037/a0023909 · 1.76 Impact Factor
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