Date of Award

2021

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Gary Stoner

Abstract

Previous research has established that Asian Americans are less likely than other racial and ethnic groups to utilize mental health services. This has given rise to a multitude of studies examining Asian Americans’ attitudes towards seeking professional psychological help. However, given the immense diversity of the Asian American population, there exists a need for additional studies exploring the needs of specific subsets of the Asian American population. The present study explored the mental health help-seeking preferences and attitudes of South Asian Americans in particular. Participants were 131 South Asian American undergraduate and graduate students from universities across the United States. The influence of acculturation and enculturation on these students’ mental health help-seeking attitudes was examined. Additionally, this study investigated students’ preferences for sources of support (such as friends, family, therapists, or campus faculty) when struggling with a mental health problem, as well as their preferences for different types of mental health treatments (such as group counseling, individual therapy, or medication) and different types of therapy (virtual or in-person).

Results indicated that levels of acculturation and enculturation did not impact participants’ help-seeking attitudes. Participants reported that they were most willing to seek help for a mental health concern by talking with the following people: a close friend or significant other, a sibling or cousin, and a psychiatrist. They were least willing to seeking help from the following people: an extended family member (like an aunt, uncle, or grandparent), a religious or spiritual leader, or a family friend. Additionally, when asked about their preferences regarding types of mental health treatments, participants expressed that they were most willing to utilize individual therapy or counseling. Lastly, the vast majority of participants indicated that they would prefer in-person counseling over virtual counseling. Implications for practice, intervention, and future research are discussed.

Available for download on Thursday, August 11, 2022

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