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ERIC Number: EJ941348
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 28
ISSN: ISSN-0897-5264
African American College Students: Literacy of Depression and Help Seeking
Stansbury, Kim L.; Wimsatt, Maureen; Simpson, Gaynell Marie; Martin, Fayetta; Nelson, Nancy
Journal of College Student Development, v52 n4 p497-502 Jul-Aug 2011
Depression is a serious public health concern in the United States affecting almost 18.8 million adults. It is a common mental disorder in college students, with estimates of 1 in 4 "experiencing an episode by age 24." African American college students are at an elevated risk for depression due to racism, stress, sleep deprivation, and lack of academic and social support. However, to date, little research addresses African American college students' mental health literacy regarding depression. This systematic and empirical knowledge gap regarding African American college students' recognition of depressive symptoms and perspectives on treatment options for depression must be addressed to avoid complications leading to other problems such as self-medication with drugs and alcohol. This research examines African American college students' mental health literacy regarding depression. The components of mental health literacy are: (1) the ability to identify specific disorders and/or different types of psychological distress; (2) knowledge regarding risk factors and causes; (3) knowledge and beliefs about self-help interventions; (4) knowledge about available professional health care; (5) attitudes that facilitate recognition and appropriate help-seeking; and (6) knowledge of how to seek mental health information. The mental health literacy survey consists of two vignettes. Over half of the respondents accurately identified depression in the vignettes, a finding that is consistent with previous findings that young adults and college students are cognizant of depressive symptoms. Researchers have speculated that young adults (18-24 years old) have a heightened sense of depression due to the Internet, positive media portrayals of individuals with depression, and/or college campaigns promoting mental health awareness. Conversely, a third of college students did not identify depression as the character's problem in the vignette, although they reported that the characters were experiencing some form of psychological distress. Although researchers have reported individuals who recognize mental disorder are more likely to hold positive attitudes toward mental health practitioners, in this study an overwhelming majority of all respondents believed full recovery from depression was possible with professional interventions.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A