The Relationship of Perceived Campus Culture to Mental Health Help-Seeking Intentions

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Abstract

Despite mental health issues being widespread on college campuses, the majority of college students do not seek help. Prior research suggests several individual factors that may be related to mental health help-seeking including age, gender, and prior treatment experience. However, there has been little work considering the broader role of the college environment on person-level predictors of mental health help-seeking, specifically the relationship with perceived campus culture. Thus, informed by the theory of planned behavior (Ajzen, 1991), the purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between perceived campus cultural perspectives on different personal processes, such as attitudes toward treatment, stigma, and treatment barriers that are believed to relate to mental health help-seeking intentions. Participants were 212 undergraduate students from a large university in the southeastern United States. As hypothesized, we found a significant mediation relationship for personal attitudes in the relationship between perceived campus attitudes and help-seeking intentions. In contrast, analyses did not support mediation relationships for personal barriers or personal stigma. These findings suggest that perceived campus culture may serve an important role in personal mental health treatment beliefs. Campus mental health policies and prevention programming may consider targeting perceived campus culture as an important means for increasing personal positive beliefs toward mental health treatment.

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