Social-psychological factors affecting help-seeking for emotional problems

D. J. Rickwood, V. A. Braithwaite

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

380 Citations (Scopus)


Predictors of the attitudinal measure of orientation toward help-seeking for emotional problems have been shown to include demographic, network, and personality variables. This research determined whether these same variables predict the behavioral outcome measure of help-seeking, both in general and from professional services in particular. Help-seeking in response to emotional problems was studied in a sample of Australian adolescents. General help-seeking was predicted by more symptoms of psychological distress, being female, availability of social support, knowing someone who had sought professional help, and the personality characteristics of high private self-consciousness and willingness to disclose mental health. When only those with evident emotional distress were considered, only gender and willingness to disclose remained significant predictors. These same variables did not account for those who sought professional help rather than relying upon their informal network. Level of psychological distress was the only significant predictor of professional consultation. Psychological symptoms and gender were shown to be more relevant predictors of the behavioral measure of help-seeking than network or personality characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)563-572
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1994


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