Black American psychological help-seeking intention: An integrated literature review with recommendations for clinical practice
Journal of Psychotherapy Integration
African Americans, Black Americans, Mental health services use, Psychological help-seeking, Theory of planned behavior
Cumulative research has indicated that Black Americans underutilize voluntary mental health services. This review article adopts the theory of planned behavior (TPB; Ajzen, 1991) model as an organizing conceptual framework to demonstrate how a variety of factors contribute to Black Americans' reluctance to seek psychological help. These factors include perceived negative consequences associated with seeking help (i.e., mental illness stigma); social pressure against psychological help-seeking (i.e., endorsement of beliefs, such as "Black people do not get mental illness," "Black people must be strong," and/or "Black people who seek professional help have less faith in God"); and perceived difficulties associated with seeking professional help (e.g., cultural mistrust, microaggressions in therapy). This article then suggests approaches that practitioners can use to encourage mental health service use in this population, such as reducing mental illness stigma through psychoeducation; discussing the influences of race/ethnicity and culture in therapy; and preventing and addressing microaggressions in therapy. Finally, the article discusses directions for future research to further investigate how to better understand and encourage psychological help-seeking intention in the Black community.
Taylor, Renée E. and Kuo, Ben C.H.. (2019). Black American psychological help-seeking intention: An integrated literature review with recommendations for clinical practice. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 29 (4), 325-337.