Caribbean culture, attitudes towards seeking counseling, social stigma, emotional openness
Purpose: The college environment is documented as a universally stressful period where students face many challenges (Baysden, 2002; Pandit, 2003). In addition to these potential stressors, international students face other unique challenges such as loss of support network, feelings of isolation, economic hardship, coping with oftentimes competing cultures, and anxiety which emanates from unfamiliarity (Kim & Omizo, 2003; Rounds & Kline, 2005). Unsuccessful resolution of these challenges can negatively impact the acculturation process, their mental health, and their academic programs (Roysircar, 2002). Despite these many challenges, research consistently shows that international students are less likely than their US counterparts to seek professional counseling (Bayer, 2002). Further, those who do seek counseling services are also more likely to terminate services prematurely (Anderson & Myer, 1985). Although there is an abundance of research on the attitudes towards seeking professional counseling of Asian and other international student populations (Kim & Omizo, 2003; Lau & Takeuchi, 2001; Leong & Lau, 2001; Liao, Rounds & Kline, 2005; Pandit, 2003), there is a dearth of knowledge on Caribbean college students. This dissertation sought to determine which factors influence the attitudes towards seeking professional counseling of English-speaking Caribbean college students in the U.S., as well as those attending colleges in the Caribbean. Method: Two research questions and five null hypotheses were used to examine what influences the attitudes towards seeking professional counseling of 500 Caribbean college students. The variables of interest were stigma tolerance, level of social support, level of acculturation, outcome expectations and level of emotional openness. Stigma Tolerance was measured using the Stigma Scale for Receiving Psychological Help (SSRPH), Outcome Expectations were measured using the Disclosure Expectations Scale, Emotional Openness was measured using the Distress Disclosure Index and Social Support using the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support. Attitudes towards seeking professional counseling were measured using the Attitudes towards seeking Psychological Help instrument by Fischer and Turner (1970) and acculturation was measured using responses from the demographic questionnaire. Several analyses were conducted including a stepwise regression analysis, multiple regression analysis, a MANOVA, ANOVA and a linear regression analysis. Major Findings: The results of this study indicated that stigma tolerance and anticipated risks of seeking counseling both have a significant inverse relationship with the attitudes towards seeking professional counseling of English-speaking Caribbean college students. Results also indicated that anticipated utility of seeking professional counseling has a significant relationship with the attitudes towards seeking professional counseling. The level of emotional openness as well as the level of social support also have a direct relationship with the attitudes towards seeking professional counseling of English-speaking Caribbean college students. Students who reside and attend college in the Caribbean reported higher mean scores for anticipated risk, anticipated utility and attitudes towards seeking professional counseling than their counterparts who reside and attend college in the U.S. Results also indicated that length of stay in the U.S. was not a statistically significant predictor of one's attitudes towards seeking professional counseling.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Education
Child, Family and Community Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Greenidge, Wendy-lou, "Attitudes Towards Seeking Professional Counseling: The Role Of Outcome Expectations And Emotional Openness In English-speaking C" (2007). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 3179.