Mental Health Literacy and Service Utilization among Black/African American Undergraduate Students
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Doctoral dissertation, PhD / Open Access
The purpose of this study was to examine the association between mental health curricula content, mental health literacy, help-seeking intentions, and service utilization among Black/African American undergraduate students. This quantitative study sampled (n= 109) undergraduate students enrolled at two four-year institutions. Participants were aged 18 and older who self-identified as Black/African American. For the focus of this study, Black/African American also included people who identified as Black, Black African, African American, African Caribbean, Afro-Caribbean, and/or Afro-Latina/o/x. Participants completed an anonymous online survey through Qualtrics, which included questions pertaining to knowledge of mental illness, risk factors, treatment, help-seeking intentions, and service utilization. This study was also informed by the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) and the Relational Cultural Theory (RCT) to provide a supportive framework for the key concepts related to mental health outcomes in this research. Participants that reported being exposed to mental health content were found to have higher mental health literacy scores than those who did not. However, there were no significant differences between mental health literacy scores, help-seeking intentions, and service utilization among this sample population. The results demonstrate a need for additional research to examine the ways in which Black/African American undergraduate students are taught mental health literacy and the factors that aid to increase their help-seeking intentions and service utilization. Results from this study will be used to help inform social work education, practice, policy, and research in order to help improve mental health outcomes.
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