Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 45–56 | Cite as

What Adolescents Seeking Help Teach us About a School-Based Counseling Service

  • Roberta Biolcati
  • Laura Palareti
  • Consuelo Mameli


Adolescents are reluctant to seek help, especially those at psychopathological risk. School may represent the ideal setting to intercept teens in trouble by reducing some barriers to help-seeking behavior; despite this, some obstacles remain difficult to overcome. The present study, involving a large sample (N = 2235) of secondary school students, aims to investigate the effectiveness of a counseling service as part of a multifaceted school-based prevention program. The counseling service is assessed by comparing students who asked for help with their peers in terms of their psychosocial characteristics, risk profiles and perceptions of the strategies that professionals adopt in order to reduce the barriers to individual counseling. Our findings reveal the capacity of individual counseling to serve the most vulnerable adolescents, with the exception of students who might be at risk of school drop-out. The effectiveness of the program implementation theory and the strength of particular strategies used to reduce barriers are discussed.


Barriers themes Help-seeking behavior School-based counseling Prevention Adolescents 



This study was funded by the Department of Education Studies; a little funding was provided by the Municipality of Ferrara city that provided funding for a little part of the wider evaluation project.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Biolcati and Palareti declares that he/she has no conflict of interest. Mameli has received two grants from the Department with a little contribution by the Municipality of Ferrara city.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roberta Biolcati
    • 1
  • Laura Palareti
    • 1
  • Consuelo Mameli
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Education StudiesUniversity of BolognaBolognaItaly

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