Date of Award

2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Psychology

Keywords

Psychology, Acculturation, Coping, Familism, Help-seeking, Latinos, Stigma

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

The present research investigated help-seeking intentions among Latin American adults living in Canada. Path analysis was utilized to test the utility of the Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA; Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980) to explain help-seeking in this population. The impact of various additional variables, including stigma, perceived barriers, and cultural variables (e.g., familism, acculturation, coping) was also examined. The sample consisted of 223 Latin American adults living in Canada. Participants had the option to complete the study questionnaire online or in a paper format and in their language of choice (i.e., English or Spanish). Qualitative data were collected using an open-ended question asking participants about any previous experience with mental health services. Consistent with the TRA, the results demonstrated that both attitudes toward help-seeking and subjective norms were correlated with help-seeking intentions. The final respecified path model provided a good fit of the data and suggested important roles for multiple variables, including familism, acculturation, and collective coping. This model also suggested that subjective norms play an important role as a mediator of the effects of attitudes and acculturation on help-seeking intentions. Qualitative results revealed several themes related to help-seeking. A large number of respondents reported positive experiences with help-seeking. However, some participants reported negative experiences. One factor that emerged as a barrier to help-seeking was the disregard of cultural issues in psychotherapy. Thus, both quantitative and qualitative results suggest an important role for cultural factors in the help-seeking process. Overall, the findings of the current study contribute to our understanding of the antecedents that impact help-seeking among Latin Americans in Canada. Future directions and clinical implications are discussed.

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