University of Tasmania

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Predictors of attitudes to seeking professional psychological help : a study of Greeks in Hobart

posted on 2023-05-26, 21:50 authored by Gallou, L
LITERATURE REVIEW This review presents and evaluates current literature on cultural factors that influence and possibly predict attitudes towards seeking professional psychological help by groups from collectivist-type, non-Western backgrounds. The significance of culture in understanding human behaviour is now widely accepted by social researches and culture is regarded as both an antecedent and a consequence of behaviour. As such, culture affects our worldview and the way we interact with others on a personal and group level. In collectivist orientated societies the emphasis is on relationships rather than on independence and group goals are placed above those of the individual. Thus focussing on one's own internal psychological processes as when one seeks psychological help may be regarded as inappropriate as behaviours that draw negative attention to the group may be regarded as disloyal and disruptive to social harmony. The review examines the literature relating to the cultural concepts of individualism-collectivism and familism, acculturation, group support, social support and social network orientation and how these have been shown to affect psychological help-seeking attitudes and behaviours, as do culturally determined beliefs about mental and psychological health and illness. Groups from collectivist, non-Western cultures often tend to be more reticent in seeking professional psychological help and prefer to seek support from their immediate group rather than from external sources. Finally, implications for clinical interventions are discussed and suggestions are made for the development of culturally appropriate interventions to promote positive attitudes to seeking professional psychological help among groups from collectivist type cultures living in Western societies. EMPIRICAL STUDY The cultural variables of Individualism-Collectivism and acculturation, as well as the variables of network orientation, gender, generation and education were examined as predictors of attitudes towards seeking professional psychological help among first and second generation Greeks in Hobart, Tasmania (N = 120). The following four measures were used: The Individualism-Collectivism Scale by Triandis, Bontempo, Villareal, Asai, and Lucca (1988); the Network Orientation Scale by Vaux (1985); the Attitudes Toward Seeking Professional Psychological Help Abbreviated Scale by Fischer and Farina (1995); and an Australian-Greek Acculturation Scale developed for this study. Results indicated generational differences in the predictor variables. For first generation participants, the significant predictors for seeking psychological help were ingroup concern, ingroup distance and education. Distance from one's ingroup and educational level correlated negatively with seeking psychological help for first generation participants. For the second generation the significant predictor variables were gender and low adherence to Greek culture. Results indicated that females had more positive attitudes towards seeking professional psychological help, especially in second generation. In addition, the less this generation adhered to Greek culture the more acculturated they were to Australian culture and the more likely they were to feel positive towards seeking professional psychological help. Contrary to previous findings, network orientation was not a predictor for seeking psychological help for either gender or generation. This study confirms that some cultural factors as well as generation and gender can affect one's attitudes to seeking professional psychological help and as such it supports previous findings in this area. This study follows the cultural psychology paradigm in its examination of cultural factors that may predict attitudes towards seeking professional psychological help within the Greek community in Hobart, Tasmania. Whereas cross-cultural psychology investigates human behaviour, beliefs and attitudes in the context of culture and cultural differences across cultures, cultural psychology examines these from within a culture. A large part of both cultural and cross-cultural psychology research has concentrated on the study of groups from non-Western cultures in host Western countries and on how members of these groups function and integrate in Western societies that host minority populations from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds.


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Copyright 2007 the author Thesis MPsych(Devel&Ed)--University of Tasmania, 2007. Includes bibliographical references

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