Date of Award

Spring 5-8-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Chair

Dr. Lilian Hill

Committee Chair Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 2

Dr. Kyna Shelley

Committee Member 2 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 3

Dr. Thomas Lipscomb

Committee Member 3 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 4

Dr. Richard Mohn

Committee Member 4 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Abstract

The aim of this study was to examine the relationships between the attitudes, beliefs, and mental health literacy of young college-educated African Americans as compared to their Caucasian counterparts. Previous research indicates these two populations differ when receiving services for mental illness. The goal of this study was to see if this difference is due to their mental health literacy level, attitudes toward seeking help, as well as their attitudes and beliefs toward mental illness. A quantitative analysis was conducted using elements of the MacArthur Mental Health Module and the Attitudes toward Seeking Professional Psychological Help Scale-Short Form (ATSPPHS-SF) to assess the elements of interest in the study. The MacArthur Mental Health Module uses vignettes to describe an individual experiencing a mental health crisis with follow-up questions regarding causes, the likeliness of the situation improving, and options for treatment. A quantitative analysis was conducted using chi-square, t-test, MANOVA, and correlational analyses. The findings of this study indicate mental health literacy and attitudes are not connected, but the results do hold interesting implications for further research. African Americans in this study displayed positive attitudes toward professional psychological help and were able to correctly identify described mental health problems based on signs and symptoms explained in the vignettes. Further research is needed to see how attitudes and behaviors are connected.

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