Perceived Norms and Mental Health Help Seeking among African American College Students

Regular Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11414-008-9138-y

Cite this article as:
Barksdale, C.L. & Molock, S.D. J Behav Health Serv Res (2009) 36: 285. doi:10.1007/s11414-008-9138-y


In general, African Americans do not seek mental health treatment from formal sources at the same rates as Caucasians. The present study examined whether culturally relevant factors (i.e., perceived negative peer and family norms about help seeking) influence help-seeking intentions in a late adolescent African-American sample (n = 219) and whether there is a gender difference in the predictive strength between peer and family norms. Participants were primarily female (n = 144). Multiple regressions were implemented to explore the relationship between perceived norms and help-seeking intentions. Analyses revealed that males had higher perceived peer norms, and family norms were a stronger predictor of intentions than peer norms for females. Individually, peer norms and family norms were related to help-seeking intentions. When perceived norms were analyzed together, only negative family norms were related to intentions. Findings suggest that incorporating family norms is critical when developing interventions to increase formal service utilization among African Americans.


mental health help-seeking norms African American late adolescents 

Copyright information

© National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mental HealthJohns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Psychology DepartmentGeorge Washington UniversityNW WashingtonUSA

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