Masters Thesis

Venezuelan and American college students' attitudes toward seeking professional psychological help: gender and ethnic comparisons

For the past decade the counseling field in the United States has been changing in order to satisfy the needs of a growing culturally diverse population. Professionals in this field are finding it necessary to understand the different processes culturally diverse individuals experience when anticipating help regarding a mental health issue. As both local and global systems change it is important for clinicians to understand individuals’ attitudes toward seeking help from a mental health practitioner (Atkinson, 2007). Professionals in this field are finding it necessary to understand the different processes culturally diverse individuals experience when anticipating help regarding a mental health issue. The study investigated some of the differences in attitudes toward seeking psychological help in American and Venezuelan college students residing in the United States and Venezuela, respectively. Furthermore, this study was aimed at understanding some of the cultural and gender differences between the groups. This project examined 184 college students from the United States and Venezuela using the Inventory of Attitudes toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS), (Mackenzie, Knox, Gekoski, & Macaulay, 2004, pp. 2434). Main effects for gender groups and nationalities and interactions were examined. We found a significant difference between the two nationalities for the overall IASMHS measure and two of the IASMHS sub-scales, help seeking propensity and psychological openness. We also found a significant gender difference on the psychological openness sub-scale of the IASMHS with females scoring significantly higher than men. Implications of the results of the present study are discussed as well as recommendations for future research.

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