ERIC Number: ED237875
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Aug-26
Reference Count: 0
Seeking Mental Health Care: Multivariate Analysis of a National Survey.
Leon, Irving G.
Most studies investigating the decision to seek mental health care have focused on socio-demographic differences in health utilization behavior rather than psychological variables. To evaluate three psychological explanations of help-seeking behavior, i.e., the health belief model, the socio-cultural perspective, and an ego psychological approach, a national survey of 2,264 adults, representative of the American population on major socio-demographic characteristics, were interviewed in depth about their sense of well-being and their help-seeking behavior. The data were coded into over 50 independent variables representing five conceptually distinct psychological categories, i.e., distress, intrapsychic measures, help-seeking variables, resources, and values. Analysis of results showed that the health belief model seemed to account best for the decision to seek formal help, based on perceived impaired functioning. Seeking mental health care rather than other kinds of formal help was best predicted by the social network factors of the socio-cultural perspective, suggesting that situational factors, particularly those related to the help-seeking process, play a much more important role than enduring, internalized dispositions and reported distress. Multivariate psychological models of seeking formal help and mental health care developed in the total population effectively explain help-seeking behavior in samples stratified by sex, age, and educational level. (JAC)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Help Seeking; Situational Variables
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (91st, Anaheim, CA, August 26-30, 1983).