Seeking Professional Help: Etiology Beliefs About Mental Illness Across Cultures

  • Chen S
  • Mak W
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Abstract

In the present study, the authors examined the contributions of cultural beliefs about the etiology of mental illness to the seeking of help from mental health professionals among college students in 4 cultural groups, European Americans, Chinese Americans, Hong Kong Chinese, and Mainland Chinese. Group differences were found in help-seeking history and likelihood, with European and Chinese Americans being more likely to seek help than Hong Kong and Mainland Chinese. Multiple-group path analysis showed that lay beliefs about causes of mental illness and prior help-seeking history significantly predicted help-seeking likelihood, which was related positively to environmental/hereditary causes but negatively to social-personal causes. Our findings demonstrate the importance of understanding help-seeking patterns within specific cultural contexts and the effects of Western influences on shaping help-seeking propensities. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved).

Author-supplied keywords

  • Americans
  • Chinese
  • culture
  • help-seeking
  • lay beliefs

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Authors

  • Sylvia Xiaohua Chen

  • Winnie W.S. Mak

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