Date of Award

2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Menna, Rosanne

Keywords

Foster care, Grounded theory, Help-seeking, Mental health

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

Adolescents in foster care are at high risk for mental health and emotional problems, however, many do not receive the services they need (Burge, 2007; Burns et al., 2004). It is important to examine the help-seeking behaviours of this population, to ensure they have these skills when they leave foster care. The present study sought to examine the subjective experiences and perceptions related to mental health and help-seeking of adolescents in care. Participants were seven adolescents (1 male, 6 female) aged 16 to 20 (M = 17, SD = 1.53). They completed semi-structured interviews, which were analyzed using grounded theory analysis. Themes related to level of need, predisposing and enabling factors (e.g., previous help-seeking, awareness of sources), seeking help, and stages of help-seeking emerged during analysis. Existing theoretical models were adapted to represent the help-seeking behaviours of youth in care. Findings address gaps in the literature, and suggest targets for intervention.

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