Mental health help-seeking behavior of Ghanaian American immigrants

Gifty Ampadu, University of Rhode Island


Research pertaining to mental health treatment disparities and help-seeking behaviors overwhelmingly focuses on differences between racial and ethnic minorities, who are often compared to the majority. There is a critical gap in psychological research on the subject of intra-group differences in help-seeking among ethnic minorities. This study addressed within-group differences regarding help-seeking intention of Ghanaian American immigrants, a subgroup of the Black population. Specifically, the study examined the relationship among demographic variables (e.g., age, education, marital status, and gender), acculturation, religious commitment, attitudes toward help-seeking, and mental help-seeking intention in Ghanaian American immigrants. The study was also interested in learning more about preferred help-seeking sources among Ghanaians for mental illness (i.e., depressions, schizophrenia, and anxiety) and physical illness (heart attack). In a cross-sectional correlational design, a community-based sample of 131 Ghanaian American, 18 years and above, completed surveys to measure acculturation, attitudes toward seeking psychological help, and religious commitment. Help-seeking intentions for depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, and heart attack were measured through vignettes. A one-way repeated measures analysis of variance was conducted to compare help-seeking intentions for specific help sources across problem type (anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and heart attack). Results indicated that Ghanaians significantly preferred to seek help from intimate partners, phone help lines, and mental health professional for mental health problems. Furthermore, a hierarchical multiple regression analysis was used to examine the relationship between demographic variables, acculturation strategies, attitudes toward help-seeking, and help-seeking intentions. The findings from this research showed that age, marital status, attitude towards help-seeking, and religious commitment were strongly associated with help-seeking intention. The study provides valuable information that can be used to inform outreach efforts with respect to increasing mental health utilization among Ghanaian American immigrants.

Subject Area

African Studies|Black studies|Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

Gifty Ampadu, "Mental health help-seeking behavior of Ghanaian American immigrants" (2016). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI10188540.