Psychological Help-Seeking Attitudes and Intentions of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Individuals: The Role of Sexual Minority Identity and Perceived Counselor Sexual Prejudice

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Abstract

In the current study, the psychological help-seeking attitudes and intentions of 140 lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals were examined in relation to their LGB identity and perceived sexual prejudice of mental health counselors. Relying on the theory of planned behavior (Ajzen, 1991), the looking glass self (Cooley, 1902/1964), and the threat-to-self-esteem model (Nadler & Fisher, 1986), we hypothesized that perceived counselor sexual prejudice mediated the relationship between an individual’s LGB identity and their intentions to seek psychological services using path analysis. Contrary to expectations, perceived counselor sexual prejudice did not mediate the relation between LGB identity and intentions to seek psychological services. Results indicated LGB Identity Affirmation, but not Negative LGB Identity, was related to perceived counselor sexual prejudice such that the more affirming LGB individuals are of their sexual identity the less they perceive counselors to display sexual prejudice. The model illustrated that attitudes toward mental health counseling mediated the relationship between perceived counselor sexual prejudice and intentions to seek psychological services. Furthermore, a negative relationship was found between LGB identity and intentions to seek psychological services, such that the more negative an individual views their LGB identity, the higher their intentions to seek psychological services. Finally, a positive relationship emerged between prior counseling experience and help-seeking attitudes and intentions. Implications of these findings are discussed in terms of training, practice, and research.

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