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University students’ attitudes toward seeking psychological help : effects of perceived social support, psychological distress, prior help-seeking experience and gender

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2009
Çebi, Esra
The main purpose of the present study was to examine the effect of perceived social support, psychological distress, prior help-seeking experience, and gender on attitudes toward seeking psychological help of university students. In addition to the main purpose; gender, faculty, living arrangement, and year of study differences in attitudes toward seeking psychological help and students’ knowledge about the psychological counseling services of the METU Health and Guidance Center were investigated. The sample consisted of 417 (223 female, 194 male) undergraduate students of Middle East Technical University. The data was gathered using the scale of Attitudes Toward Seeking Psychological Help-Shortened (ASPH-S), the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS), General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) and a demographic information form. It was found that nearly half of the participants (47%) had knowledge about the psychological counseling services of the METU Health and Guidance Center. Friends were the most frequently stated sources of help (59%) in times of need for personal problems. Females had more positive attitudes toward seeking psychological help than males. Students of the Faculty of the Arts and Sciences, and students of the Faculty of the Education were found to have more favorable attitudes than of the Faculty of Engineering students. Finally, hierarchical regression analysis showed that perceived social support, prior help-seeking experience, and gender significantly predicted attitudes toward seeking psychological help. However, psychological distress was not associated with help-seeking attitudes.