Date of Award

2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Menna, Rosanne (Psychology)

Keywords

Psychology, Developmental.

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

The present study examined mental health help seeking among early adolescents. Drawing from past research (Andersen & Newman, 1973; Andersen, 1995; Srebnik, Cauce, & Baydar, 1996), help seeking was examined in the context of stages and factors. Help-seeking stages were: (1) problem recognition, (2) perceiving a need for professional help with problems, and (3) seeking professional help for problems. Factors believed to be related to help-seeking stages were predisposing factors (i.e., gender, age, prior professional help seeking), enabling/inhibiting factors (i.e., barriers to help seeking), and need factors (i.e., adolescent stress and psychological distress, parents’ perceptions of adolescent stress, psychological distress, and impact of adolescent problems). Both adolescents and parents were surveyed to examine help seeking and relations between parent and adolescent reports. Participants were 193 adolescents (60 males, 133 females) ranging in age from 11- to 15-years, and 110 parents. All participants completed measures assessing demographic variables, help-seeking behaviour, adolescent stress and psychological distress, and perceived barriers to help seeking. Parents also completed a measure assessing perceived impact of adolescent problems. Adolescent problem recognition was predicted by prior professional help seeking and psychological distress. Perceiving a need for professional help was predicted by prior professional help seeking, stress level, and the belief that nothing would help. Seeking professional help was predicted by perceived stigma. Parental problem recognition was predicted by greater impact of adolescent problems. Perceiving a need for professional help was predicted by prior professional help seeking and greater impact of adolescent problems. When considering adolescent- and parent-reported factors simultaneously in predicting adolescent help-seeking stages, adolescent-reported stress was the most robust predictor.

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