Intentions to seek mental health services for depression among college women

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Deken, Craig S.
Tschopp, Molly K.
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Thesis (Ph. D.)
Department of Counseling Psychology, Social Psychology, and Counseling
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Approximately two-thirds of college student women who have symptoms of depression do not seek formal help through mental health services. Models of help seeking for young people have been developed and the Theory of Planned Behavior has been extensively used to understand health behaviors. The purpose of the present study was to examine the relationships between depression literacy, problem recognition, attitudes, perceived norms, perceived behavioral control, and intentions to seek help among college student women. A brief feedback intervention was included to determine if awareness of current depression symptoms severity impacted problem recognition. Five-hundred thirty-four college student women were surveyed, and data were analyzed using structural equation modeling and paired samples t-tests. Hypotheses that depression literacy was related to problem recognition and that feedback increased problem recognition were supported. The hypothesis that problem recognition was related to help-seeking intentions and attitudes was partially supported in that there was a direct positive relationship between problem recognition and intention to seek help, however this relationship was not mediated by attitudes. Other relationships between Theory of Planned Behavior variables were different than expected. Implications for theory, research, and practice are discussed