KOLEOSO, Olaide Nathaniel, AINA Israel Odunmayowa


The purpose of this study was to explore the consequences of psychological and demographic features on attitudes toward seeking professional psychological help (ATSPPH) of undergraduate students. The design of this study was ex-post factor. The sample population of this study consisted of 454 (257 male and 197 female) undergraduate distance learning students selected through convenience sampling. Their mean age was 25.83 years (SD = 3.88 years). The respondents completed a questionnaire consisting of the Attitudes toward Seeking Professional Psychological Help, Self-stigma of Seeking Help Scale, Social Stigma for Receiving Psychological Help Scale and Self Concealment Scale. Percentages and means, the t-test for independent samples, and multiple regressions were used for analysis. The results of this study indicated that the younger students reported significantly better ATSPPH than the older students. Male and female students were not statistically different when compared on ATSPPH. Further, there was significant independent influence of self-stigma and self-concealment and a joint influence of self-stigma, public-stigma and self-concealment on ATSPPH. Intervention designed to increase public awareness about the benefits of seeking professional services or to drastically reduce and ameliorate negative concerns about seeking psychological help will be more efficient if that intervention is focused on the factors that have been identified in this study.


Self-stigma, public-stigma, self-concealment, age, gender, and professional psychological help

Full Text:



Addis, M. E., & Mahalik, J. R. (2003). Men, masculinity, and the contexts of help seeking. American Psychologist,

, 5-14.

Adewuya, A. O., Ola, B. A., Aloba, O. O., Mapayi, B. M., & Oginni, O. O. (2006). Depression amongst Nigerian

university students: Prevalence and sociodemographic correlates. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric

Epidemiology, 41(8), 674–678.

Akaydın FŞ (2002). Üniversite öğrencilerinin problem alanları, problemlilik düzeyleri, problem çözme becerileri

ve yardım arama davranışları arasındaki ilişkilerinin incelenmesi Problem areas of university students,

problem levels, evaluate the relationship between problem solving skills and help-seeking behavior]

Yayımlanmamış Yüksek Lisans Tezi, Karadeniz Teknik Üniversitesi, Trabzon.

Aluede, O., Imhonde, H., Eguavoen, A. (2006). Academic, career and personal needs of Nigerian University

students. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 33(1), 50-57.

Aniebue, P. N., & Onyema, G. O. (2008). Prevalence of depressive symptoms among Nigerian medical

undergraduates. Tropical Doctor, 38(3), 157–158.

Baltacı, Ş. H. (2012). Ortaöğretim öğrencileri için profesyonel psikolojik yardım almaya yönelik tutum ölçeği. Eğitim

Araştırmaları Dergisi, 47, 59-76.

Battaglia, J., Coverdale, J. H., & Bushong, C. P. (1990). Evaluation of a Mental Illness Awareness Week program in

public schools. American Journal of Psychiatry, 147, 324- 329.

Bayer, J. K., & Peay, M. Y. (1997). Predicting intentions to seek help from professional mental health services.

Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 31, 504- 513.

Ben-Porath, D. D. (2002). Stigmatization of individuals who receive psychotherapy: An interaction between help-

seeking behavior and the presence of depression. Journal of Social & Clinical Psychology, 21, 400–413.

Bergin, A. E., & Garfield, S. L. (Eds.). (1994). Handbook of psychotherapy and behavior change (4th ed.). New

York: Wiley.

Bishop, J. B., Bauer, K.W., & Becker, E. T. (1998). A survey of counseling needs of male and female college

students. Journal of College Student Development, 39, 205-210.

Boldero, J., & Fallon, B. (1995). Adolescent help-seeking: What do they get help for and from whom? Journal of

Adolescence, 23, 35–45.

Braxton, J. M., Bray, N. J., Sullivan, A. S. (1999). The Influences of Stress-Related Coping Strategies of College

Student Departure Decisions. Journal of College Student Development, 40(6), 645–657.

Cauce, A. M., Domenech-Rodriguez, M., Paradise, M., Cochran, B. N., Shea, J. M., Srebnik, D., & Baydar, N.

(2002). Cultural and contextual influences in mental health help seeking: A focus on ethnic minority youth.

Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology, 70, 44–55.

Çebi, E. (2009). University students’ attitudes toward seeking psychological help: effects of perceived social support,

psychological distress, prior help-seeking experience and gender. Dissertation, Graduate School of Social

Sciences of Middle East Technical University.

Cepeda-Benito, A., & Short, P. (1998). Self-concealment, avoidance of psychological services, and perceived

likelihood of seeking professional help. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 45(1), 58-64. doi:


Chandler, L. A., & Gallagher, R. P. (1996). Developing a taxonomy for problems seen at a university counseling

center. Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, 29, 4-12.

Chickering, A. W., & Havighurst, R. J. (1981). The modern American college. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Conner, K. O., Copeland, V. C., Grote, N. K. (2010). Mental health treatment seeking among older adults with

depression: the impact of stigma and race. America Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. 18, 531–543.

Corrigan, P. (2004). How Stigma Interferes With Mental Health Care. American Psychologist, 59(7), 614-625. doi:


Corrigan, P. (2004). How stigma interferes with mental health care. American Psychologist, 59, 614-625.

Corrigan, P. W., & Watson, A. C. (2002). The paradox of self-stigma and mental illness. Clinical Psychology: Science

and Practice, 9, 35-53.

Cramer, K. M. (1999). Psychological antecedents to help-seeking behavior: A reanalysis using path modeling

structures. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 46(3), 381-387. doi: 10.1037/0022-0167.46.3.381

Crisp, A. H., Gelder, M. G., Rix, S., Meltzer, H. I., & Rowlands, O. J. (2000). Stigmatization of people with mental

illness. British Journal of Psychiatry, 177, 4–7.

Deane, F. P., & Chamberlain, K. (1994). Treatment fearfulness and distress as predictors of professional

psychological help-seeking. British Journal of Guidance and Counseling, 22, 207–217.

Dubow, E. F., Lovko, K. R., & Kausch, D. F. (1990). Demographic differences in adolescents’ health concerns and

perceptions of helping agents. Journal of Clinical and Consulting Psychology, 19, 44–54.

Erikson, E. (1968). Identity, youth, and crisis. New York: Norton.

Esters, I. G., Cooker, P. G., & Ittenbach, R. F. (1998). Effects of a unit of instruction in mental health on rural

adolescents’ conceptions of mental illness and attitudes about seeking help. Adolescence, 33, 469-476.

Evans, S., & Katona, C. (1995). Epidemiology of depressive symptoms in elderly primary care attenders. Dementia,

, 327-333.

Fischer, E. H., & Farina, A. (1995). Attitudes toward seeking professional psychological help: A shortened form and

considerations for research. Journal of College Student Development, 36, 368–373.

Fischer, E. H., & Turner, J. L. (1970). Development and research utility of an attitude scale. Journal of Consulting and

Clinical Psychology, 35, 79–90.

Fung, K. M., Tsang, H. W., Chan, F. (2010). Self-stigma, stages of change and psychosocial treatment adherence

among Chinese people with schizo¬phrenia: a path analysis. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology,

, 561–568.

Gallagher, R. P., Sysko, H. B., & Zhang, B. (2001). National Survey of Counseling Center Directors. Alexandria, Va.:

International Association of Counseling Services Inc.

Gavin, L., & Furman, W. (1989). Age differences in adolescents’ perceptions of their peer groups. Developmental

Psychology, 25, 827–834.

Hackler, A. H. (2007). Seeking professional help for an eating disorder: The role of stigma, anticipated outcomes, and

attitudes (Master’s thesis). Available from Proquest Dissertations and Theses database. (UMI No.


Halter, M. J. (2004). The stigma of seeking care and depression. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing. 18, 178–184.

Hammer, J. H., Vogel, D. L., Heimerdinger-Edwards, S. R. (2012). Men’s help seek¬ing: examination of differences

across community size, education, and income. Psychology of Men Masculinity, [Epub ahead of print].

Hassan, T. (1991). Problems confronting counseling practices in Nigeria. In S.A. Gesinde (Ed), Readings in

counseling practicum (pp. 252-260). Ibadan: Vantage Publishers.

Heppner, P. P., Kivlighan, D. M. Jr., Good, G. E., Roehlke, H. J., Hills, H. I., & Ashby, J. S. (1994). Presenting

problems of university counseling center clients: A snapshot and multivariate classification scheme. Journal of

Counseling Psychology, 41, 315-324.

Hinson, J. A., & Swanson, J. L. (1993). Willingness to seek help as a function of self-disclosure and problem severity.

Journal of Counseling & Development, 71, 465-470.

Hoerster, K. D., Malte, C. A., Imel, Z. E., Ahmad, Z., Hunt, S. C., Jakupcak, M. (2012). Association of perceived

barriers with prospective use of VA mental health care among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. Psychiatric

Services, 63, 380–382.

Kalkan, M., & Odacı, H. (2005). Cinsiyet ve cinsiyet rolünün psikolojik yardım almaya ilişkin tutumlarla ilişkisi. Türk

Psikolojik Danışma ve Rehberlik Dergisi, 23(3), 57-62.

Karim, A. (1996). Counseling centers’ policy and staff perceptions towards serving the international student

population. Dissertation, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

Keklik, İ. (2009). Attitudes toward seeking professional psychological help: A comparative study of Turkish and

American graduate students. Eğitim Araştırmaları- Eurasian Journal of Educational Research, 37, 159-173.

Kelly, A. E., & Achter, J. A. (1995). Self-concealment and attitudes toward counseling in university students.

Journal of Counseling Psychology, 42(1), 40-46. doi: 10.1037/0022- 0167.42.1.40

Kenney, M. E. (1990). College seniors’ perceptions of parental attachments: The value and stability of family ties.

Journal of College Student Development, 31, 39-46.

Kolo, I .A. (1994). Students’ guidance concerns and preference for expert guidance: A study of students in higher

institution in Kano. Ife Psychologial: An International Journal, 2, 67-80.

Komiya, N., Good, G. E., & Sherrod, N. B. (2000). Emotional openness as a predictor of college students’ attitudes

toward seeking psychological help. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 47, 138-143.

Kushner, M. G., & Sher, K. J. (1991). The relation of treatment fearfulness and psychological services utilization: An

overview. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 22, 196-203.

Laosebikan, S. (1980). On the resistance of principal and teachers to the introduction of guidance and counseling

services in secondary schools in Oyo State. The Counselor, 3, 57-64.

Larson, D. G., & Chastain, R. L. (1990). Self-concealment: Conceptualization, measurement, and health implications.

Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 9(4), 439-455.

Latalova, K., Ociskova, M., Prasko, J., Kamaradova, D., Jelenova, D., Sedlackova, Z. (2013). Self-stigmatization in

patients with bipolar disorder. Neuro Endocrinology Letters. 34, 265–272.

Leong, F. T. L., & Zachar, P. (1999). Gender and opinions about mental illness as predictors of attitudes toward

seeking professional psychological help. British Journal of Guidance and Counseling, 25, 123-132.

Liao, H.-Y., Rounds, J., & Klein, A. G. (2005). A Test of Cramer's (1999) Help-Seeking Model and Acculturation

Effects With Asian and Asian American College Students. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 52(3), 400-411.

doi: 10.1037/0022-0167.52.3.400

Mack, D. E. (1979). Counseling in a Nigerian university. Personnel and Guidance Journal, 59, 457-461.

Masuda, A., & Latzman, R. D. (2011). Examining associations among factor-analytically derived components of

mental health stigma, distress, and psychological flexibility. Personality & Individual Differences, 51(4), 435-

doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2011.04.008

McCartney, J. (1995). Addictive behaviors: Relationship factors and their perceived influence on change. Genetic,

Social, & General Psychology Monographs, 121, 39-64.

Mizuno, H., & Ishikuma, T. (1999). Helpseeking preferences and help-seeking behaviors: An overview of studies.

Japanese Journal of Educational Psychology, 47, 530-539.

Nelson, G. D., & Barbaro, M. B. (1985). Fighting the stigma: A unique approach to marketing mental health. Health

Marketing Quarterly, 2, 89-101.

Obi, N. G. (2012). Influence of Self-Disclosure, Perceived Stigma, and Social Support on Students’ Attitudes and

Intentions to Seek Counseling. A Thesis Submitted to the Department of Psychology, Faculty of the Social

Sciences, University of Nigeria, Nsukka

Ojedokun, O. (2011). Psychological Predictors of Attitude towards Seeking Professional Psychological Help in a

Nigerian University Student. South African Journal of Psychology, 41(3), 310-327.

Oliver, M. I., Pearson, N., Coe, N., Gunnell, D. (2005). Help-seeking behavior in men and women with common

mental health problems: cross-sectional study. British Journal of Psychiatry, 186, 297-301.

Omigbodun, O.O., Odukogbe, A. T., Omigbodun, A. O, Yusuf, O. B., Bella, T. T., Olayemi, O. (2006). Stressors and

psychological symptoms in students of medicine and allied health professions in Nigeria. Social Psychiatry and

Psychiatric Epidemiology, 41(5), 415–421.

Özbay, Y., Terzi, S., Erkan, S., Çankaya, C. Z. (2011). A primary investigation of professional help-seeking attitudes,

self-concealment and gender roles of university students. Pegem Eğitim ve Öğretim Dergisi 1(4), 59-71

Peltzer, K., Pengpig, S., & Olowu, S. (2013). Depression and Associated Factors among University Students in

Western Nigeria. Journal of Psychology in Africa 2013, 23(3), 459–466

Petty, R. E., & Cacioppo, J. T. (1986). Communication and persuasion: Central and peripheral routes to attitude

change. New York: Springer-Verlag.

Prasko, J., Mainerova, B., Diveky, T., (2011). Panic disorder and stigmatiza¬tion. Activitas Nervosa Superior

Rediviva, 53, 194–201. Czech.

Santrock, J. W. (1998). Adolescence. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Shaffer, P. A., Vogel, D. L., & Wei, M. (2006). The mediating roles of anticipated risks, anticipated benefits, and

attitudes on the decision to seek professional help: An attachment perspective. Journal of Counseling

Psychology, 53, 442-452.

Sibicky, M., & Dovidio, J. F. (1986). Stigma of psychological therapy: Stereotypes, interpersonal reactions, and the

self-fulfilling prophecy. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 33, 148–154.

Stefl, M. E., & Prosperi, D. C. (1985). Barriers to mental health service utilization. Community Mental Health Journal,

, 167–178.

Straits-Troster, K. A., Patterson, T. L., Semple, S. J., Temoshok, L. (1994). The relationship between loneliness,

interpersonal competence, and immunological status in HIV-infected men. Psychology & Health, 9(3), 205-

Tata, S. P., & Leong, F. T. L. (1994). Individualism-collectivism, social-network orientation, and acculturation as

predictors of attitudes toward seeking professional psychological help among Chinese Americans. Journal

of Counseling Psychology, 41, 280-287.

Türküm, S. (2000). Üniversite öğrencilerinin psikolojik yardım almaya ilişkin tutumları ve kendini açma eğilimleri.

Anadolu Üniversitesi Eğitim Fakültesi Dergisi, 10(2), 205-220.

Türküm, S. (2001). Stresle başa çıkma biçimi, iyimserlik, bilişsel çarpıtma düzeyleri ve psikolojik yardım almaya

ilişkin tutumlar arasındaki ilişkiler: üniversite öğrencileri üzerinde bir araştırma. Anadolu Üniversitesi Sosyal

Bilimler Dergisi, 1, 1-16.

Vessey, J. T., & Howard, K. I. (1993). Who seeks psychotherapy? Psychotherapy, 30, 546–553.

Vogel, D. L., Wade, N. G., & Haake, S. (2006). Measuring the self-stigma associated with seeking psychological

help. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 53(3), 325-337.

Vogel, D. L., Wade, N. G., & Hackler, A. H. (2007). Perceived public stigma and willingness to seek counseling: The

mediating roles of self-stigma and attitudes toward therapy. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 54(1), 40-50.

Vogel, D. L., Wester, S. R., Wei, M., & Boysen, G. A. (2005). The Role of Outcome Expectations and Attitudes on

Decisions to Seek Professional Help. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 52(4), 459-470. doi: 10.1037/0022-


Vogel, D. L., Wester, S. R., Wei, M., & Boysen, G. A. (2005). The role of outcome expectations and attitudes on

decisions to seek professional help. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 52, 459–470.

Wade, N. G., Post, B. C., Cornish, M. A., Vogel, D. L., & Tucker, J. R. (2011). Predictors of the change in self-stigma

following a single session of group counseling. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 58, 170-182.

Williams, C. (2000). Doing health, doing gender: Teenagers, diabetes and asthma. Social Sciences and Medicine,

, 387–396.

Wills, T. A. (1992). The helping process in the context of personal relationships. In S. Spacapan & S. Oskamp

(Eds.), Helping and being helped (pp. 17–48). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Wong, F. K.D. (1997). The history and current situations of mainland Chinese migration to Hong Kong, and the

roles of SAR government and social service agencies. Social Service Quarterly, 141, 22-25. (In Chinese).

Zinzow, H. M., Britt, T. W., McFadden, A. C., Burnette, C. M., & Gillispie, S. (2012). Con¬necting active duty and

returning veterans to mental health treatment: interventions and treatment adaptations that may reduce

barriers to care. Clinical Psychology Review, 32, 741–753.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.