Emotional Self-Control, Interpersonal Shame, and Racism as Predictors of Help-Seeking Attitudes Among Asian Americans: An Application of the Intrapersonal–Interpersonal-Sociocultural Framework

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Abstract

The present study is a cross-sectional investigation of emotional self-control, interpersonal shame, and subtle racism as predictors of Asian American attitudes toward professional help-seeking in a sample of Asian American college students (N = 153). The authors applied and extended P. Y. Kim and Lee’s (2014) intrapersonal−interpersonal framework of Asian American help-seeking to include racism as a sociocultural correlate. It was hypothesized that emotional self-control (intrapersonal correlate), interpersonal shame variables of external shame and family shame (interpersonal correlates), and racism (sociocultural correlate) would incrementally predict professional help-seeking attitudes, controlling for previous counseling experience. Participants completed an online survey containing the demographic and study variables. Hierarchical regression analyses (Step 1: counseling experience; Step 2: emotional self-control; Step 3: interpersonal shame [external and family]; Step 4: racism) indicated that emotional self-control and racism were negative predictors of favorable attitudes, whereas external shame was a positive predictor of favorable help-seeking attitudes. The findings have implications for advancing the Asian American literature pertaining to professional help-seeking correlates and for practitioners working with Asian American students to favorably impact mental health service utilization.

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