Date of Award:

12-2013

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Psychology

Advisor/Chair:

Melanie M. Domenech Rodriguez

Abstract

The primary objective of this study was to create and test an intervention designed to increase students’ positive attitudes toward utilizing mental health services. A review of the literature was conducted to establish the guidelines for creating an intervention that would effectively influence attitudes while being relatively easy to customize and adapt to different settings. The content of the intervention was informed by the literature, reviewed by a panel of experts, and tested with a focus group of students before being finalized. In order to test the effectiveness of the intervention, and experimental study was designed which included an experimental and control group. The control group had the same experience as the experimental group except for the content of the intervention. The control group intervention provided general health information related to topics such as diet and exercise.
Student underutilization of counseling services on college campuses is a well- recognized phenomenon. By improving student attitudes toward seeking counseling, it is hypothesized that more students who could benefit from such services would indeed seek them out. This is particularly important as the rates of suicide and serious mental illness on college campuses has increased over the years. Students who receive appropriate treatment for mental health concerns often experience significant improvement. Those students whose mental health is improved may perform better academically than those who remain untreated. Healthier students have the opportunity to be more productive and successful members of the campus community.
The intervention was designed to be low cost so that it could be updated and tailored for different institutions. It was also created to be disseminated over the internet to reduce obstacles for students who may wish to view it. The intervention included music, narration, pictures, and animated text to capture the attention of the viewer. The production was accomplished using low-cost software that does not require expert skills to operate.The intervention showed significant effects on the first two subscales of the attitude measure (i.e., psychological openness and help-seeking propensity), but did not show statistical significance on the third (i.e., indifference to stigma) or on the intent to seek counseling measure (ISCI). Future studies could explore improvements to the current intervention and could examine the effects of the intervention over time (i.e., longitudinal design).

Included in

Psychology Commons

Share

COinS