Date of Award

Fall 12-20-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Lisa Armistead

Second Advisor

Akihiko Masuda

Third Advisor

Page Anderson

Fourth Advisor

Julia Perilla

Abstract

This study examined underutilization of mental health services by East Asian American (EAA) college students and the effectiveness of an intervention aimed at increasing mental health outcomes. The literature presents discrepant findings of whether behavioral or values based acculturation measures were more predictive of mental health outcomes. Previous researchers have also identified cultural and practical barriers that lead to underutilization of services. It was hypothesized that relative to behavioral acculturation, values acculturation would be more predictive of attitudes and intentions to seek counseling. Additionally, recent studies highlighting the importance of practical barriers, a brief education based video intervention was developed in hopes of increasing attitudes and intentions of mental health help seeking. The role of gender in these relations was explored. A total of 60 EAA college students were randomly assigned to one of two conditions, either the counseling information intervention video or a comparison video about career services offered at the university. It was found that after controlling for behavioral acculturation, increased adherence to Asian values was associated with decreased intentions to seek counseling about personal problems and there were no significant gender differences. Regarding the intervention, unexpectedly, information provided in the comparison condition about career services led to increased willingness to see a counselor about academic/career problems. Overall, the counseling intervention video was not effective in increasing mental health outcomes. Notably, participants in the counseling video intervention had higher perceptions of knowledge and ability to seek counseling, which was positively correlated with increased willingness to see a counselor about personal problems. Gender differences were not significant in the analyses. Implications of the study include further development and examination of interventions developed to address practical barriers, presenting topics related to academic concerns as a way to increase counseling use by EAA college students, and further investigation of the role of self-efficacy in predicting mental health utilization.

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