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Social Selection in Seeking Help for Psychological Problems

James R. Greenley and David Mechanic
Journal of Health and Social Behavior
Vol. 17, No. 3 (Sep., 1976), pp. 249-262
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2136546
Page Count: 14
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Social Selection in Seeking Help for Psychological Problems
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Abstract

Social selection in seeking care for psychological problems from psychiatric services, counseling services, clergymen, medical services, and other formal agencies was explored among 1,502 randomly selected university students, and their analysis was partially replicated in a prospective analysis of a subgroup of 274 students who were followed up two years later. Special samples were also studied of applicants for service from a university psychiatric unit and a counseling center. Sociocultural characteristics, attitudes, knowledge, reference group orientations, and degree of psychological problems all had independent effects on use of helping services. However, some of these variables affected generalized help-seeking behaviors while others had an effect primarily on the specific types of help consulted. While psychological distress plays a major role in seeking help, its influence is largely independent of sociocultural, attitudinal, and reference group factors.

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