Help seeking and the theory of planned behavior in college students : experiment and model testing

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Hartong, Joel M.
Ægisdóttir, Stefanía
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Thesis (Ph. D.)
Department of Counseling Psychology and Guidance Services
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There is a significant gap between the numbers of college students who experience a diagnosable psychological problem and those who seek psychological treatment for these problems. One explanation for this gap may be that many college students may be unaware of free mental health services available at the university counseling center on campus. Thus, use of these resources is not a viable option. These concerns were addressed in the current study via a posttest-only experimental design by creating a video in line with the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB; Ajzen, 1985; 1991) and assessing its effects on college students attitudes towards psychological help seeking (PHS), subjective norms associated with PHS, perceived behavioral control over PHS, and PHS intentions. Mixed support was found for the video’s impact on TPB variables in a PHS context. In addition, the utility of the TPB model for explaining PHS in college students was examined. Based on model fit statistics the TPB adequately explained PHS in college students, but only after modifications were made to the measurement model.