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Understanding psychological help-seeking Behaviour : the application of the Theory of Planned Behaviour to medical professionals in training

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posted on 06.11.2014, 11:20 by James Nikolas Rathbone
Literature Review : A critical review of the literature was made to investigate what influences an individual’s intention to seek psychological help for mental ill health. Nineteen articles were retrieved that met the inclusion criteria. The articles were reviewed, critiqued and synthesised to answer the review question. Four key themes were identified: ; a) mental health services are underutilised and understanding help-seeking intentions and behaviour is of paramount importance for mental health professionals, b) current measures of help-seeking have significant shortcomings and comprehensive, theory driven instruments are needed, c) help-seeking is more likely to be a global concept and does not vary in relation to type of problem, although it may vary with population specific characteristics, and d) instruments used to measure help-seeking intention should be constructed with the development of interventions in mind. Clinical implications and direction for future research are discussed. Research Report : In order to understand psychological help-seeking intention for mental health problems in medical students the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) model was used. Thirty-nine medical students took part in an elicitation study to obtain attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioural control for psychological help-seeking. Eighty medical students took part in the quantitative TPB questionnaire that was developed as part of the methodology. The TPB model was found to significantly predict help-seeking intentions. The limitations of the research are discussed and suggestions for future research presented Critical Appraisal : Finally, an appraisal of the research process as a whole was made with a critique of the research methodology. The author’s reflections on conducting an independent research project are presented and learning points highlighted.



O'Reilly, Mary

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School of Psychology

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University of Leicester

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