Attitudes toward seeking professional help in a multi-ethnic sample: The roles of beliefs about mental illness etiology, religious orientation, and acculturation

Pascal Jean-Pierre, University of Rhode Island

Abstract

The present research examined the roles of various cultural and demographic characteristics (i.e., beliefs about mental illness etiology, religious orientation and acculturation) in individuals' attitudes toward seeking professional help. Data collected from a multiethnic sample of 255 English fluent adult participants [Haitians (n = 55), Cape Verdeans (n = 30), Dominicans (n = 41), Puerto Ricans (n = 39), Irish (n = 44), and Italians (n = 46)] were included in this secondary analysis. Participants voluntarily completed questionnaire packets for a previous study by the present author. Previously analyzed variables (e.g., beliefs about mental illness etiology and acculturation) and new variables (e.g., attitude towards seeking professional help and religious orientation) were included in multivariate analyses. ^ Overall, the results supported the hypotheses set forth in the present study. The findings showed significant differences in acculturation and attitude towards seeking professional help as a function of sex of participants. Male participants reported more immersion into their own ethnic groups as compared with female participants. Females in the present sample reported more positive attitude towards seeking professional help than males. No significant difference was found in religious orientation based on sex. ^ Additionally, the results revealed a significant relationship between ethnicity and individuals' attitudinal and demographic characteristics (i.e., acculturation, attitude towards seeking professional help, beliefs about mental illness etiology, religious orientation, education, occupation, and income). Specifically, attitudinal and demographic variables reliably predict individuals' ethnic group category. Further, the results also revealed a statistically significant relationship between a set of variables that measures demographic characteristics and a set of variables that measure beliefs about mental illness etiology. This relationship also indicates that knowledge of demographic background information could serve as a reliable predictor of how people would explain the cause of illness. ^ Finally, the results showed a statistically significant difference in attitude towards seeking professional help as a function of participants' acculturation. Participants' beliefs about mental illness etiology, religious orientation and ethnicity did not make a statistically significant unique contribution to the explanation of participants' attitude towards seeking professional assistance. ^

Subject Area

Religion, General|Psychology, Clinical|Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies

Recommended Citation

Pascal Jean-Pierre, "Attitudes toward seeking professional help in a multi-ethnic sample: The roles of beliefs about mental illness etiology, religious orientation, and acculturation" (2005). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI3206251.
http://digitalcommons.uri.edu/dissertations/AAI3206251

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