Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 43, Issue 11, pp 872–877

Patterns of help-seeking behavior for anxiety disorders among the Chinese speaking Australian community

  • Ka Po Ho
  • Caroline Hunt
  • Stephen Li



The utilization of mental health services is low among Chinese immigrants in Australia, yet their help-seeking pattern has not been investigated. The aims of this study were to describe the delay among Chinese immigrants in seeking treatment for an anxiety disorder and to compare the results with previous research from the general population in Australia.


Forty-nine participants were recruited from the community. Their demographic data, DSM-IV diagnosis and help-seeking patterns were assessed by a self-report questionnaire and the CB-SCID (Chinese-bilingual Structured Clinical Interview Schedule for the DSM-IV).


The average length of the delay for treatment was 7.04 years and the average time to problem recognition was 8.07 years. The most common barriers to help-seeking reported by Chinese immigrants include a lack of knowledge about available treatment, being unable to afford the cost of the treatment, and having no transportation to access the service. The most frequently endorsed reason for help-seeking was “I recognized the problem was anxiety”. General medical practitioners were most commonly their first professional contact.


The time taken for Chinese immigrants in Australia to seek help was typically long, suggesting a similar help-seeking delay to the Australian general population. However, different barriers to help-seeking emerged, suggesting that Chinese immigrants would benefit from education about the symptoms of psychiatric disorders and available treatments.


help-seeking anxiety disorders Chinese immigrants Australia 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ka Po Ho
    • 1
  • Caroline Hunt
    • 1
  • Stephen Li
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Psychology (F12)University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Institute of Clinical Pathology and Medical ResearchWestmead HospitalWestmeadAustralia

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