Examining barriers and facilitators to professional mental health help-seeking in Asian American youth
Wong, Carol Chieh Yee
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The purpose of the present study was to gain a more comprehensive understanding of help-seeking in Asian American youth. The current study examined three major types of categories that impact whether an Asian American youth seeks help for his or her problems, namely, illness profile, predisposing characteristics, and barriers/facilitators. The present study aimed to investigate how these various factors together predicted help-seeking attitudes (willingness to seek professional mental health help) and actual help-seeking behaviors (mental health treatment in the past year). Past research on Asian Americans has mainly examined help-seeking predictors in isolation, but has not assessed their unique relationship to help-seeking attitudes and behaviors, after accounting for the correlations among the predicting factors. Participants included a sample of 38 Asian American adolescents and a sample of 224 Asian American undergraduate students enrolled in introductory psychology courses.The results of the present study indicated that the comprehensive model of help-seeking factors accounted for 24% of the variance in scores for willingness to seek professional help among the sample of Asian American young adults. Specifically, the study found that parent income, level of perceived mental health information, perception of service facilitators, and perception of need barriers were significant predictors of willingness to seek professional help. Likewise, the comprehensive model of help-seeking factors also served to significantly predict actual professional help-seeking in the past year. Namely, prior mental health treatment (lifetime), level of perceived mental health information, and belief in the American dream myth significantly predicted seeking professional mental health help in the past year. These results lend support to using a comprehensive model to examine help-seeking among Asian American youth given the complexities involved in forming help-seeking attitudes and carrying out actual behaviors. These findings may prove to be important targets for intervention efforts aimed at increasing help-seeking and formal service utilization in Asian American youth.
- Psychology