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Research to date has primarily focused on investigating help-seeking attitudes and intentions of the general public regarding mental health treatment, while neglecting an investigation of these factors for graduate students in the field of psychology. A review of existing literature on this topic uncovered themes regarding barriers and facilitators to seeking professional treatment for the general public and graduate psychology students. The current study sought to expand the existing literature base on the topic of help-seeking and professional concerns of the doctoral psychology student population. Participants included 318 graduate students from accredited doctoral programs in clinical and counseling psychology and combined programs from across the United States. A model of six predictor variables, including gender, anxiety level, years of graduate training, history of help-seeking, knowing a colleague/student in one's graduate program who has sought help, and knowing a professor/supervisor/advisor who has sought help, was proposed and analyzed to determine its effectiveness in predicting help-seeking attitudes and professional concerns among doctoral psychology students. Help-seeking attitudes were assessed by performance on subscales from the Inventory of Attitudes toward Seeking Mental Health Services (IASMHS; Mackenzie, Knox, Gekoski, & Macaulay, 2004)) while professional concerns related to help-seeking were determined by subscale scores on the Trainees' Attitudes Toward Seeking Psychotherapy Scale (TATSPS; Farber, 1999). Multiple regression analyses indicated that the model was significant in predicting all seven criterion variables (subscales from the IASMHS and TATSPS), and accounted for 9% or greater total variance for all but one criterion, need for self-sufficiency, in which the model accounted for 6.9% total variance. Analysis of the specific contributions of the separate predictor variables also demonstrated that level of anxiety, gender, history of help-seeking, knowing a colleague/student in one's graduate program who has sought help, and knowing a professor/supervisor/advisor who has sought help each made separate, unique contributions to the different criterion variables associated with help-seeking attitudes and professional concerns experienced by doctoral psychology students. Following an in depth description and discussion of the aforementioned findings, the limitations and implications for future practice and future research are also presented.
A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Educational Psychology and Learning Systems in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Debra S. Osborn, Professor Directing Dissertation; Melissa Radey, University Representative; Frances Prevatt, Committee Member; James P. Sampson, Jr., Committee Member.
Florida State University
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