Racial group differences in help-seeking behaviors

J Soc Psychol. 2005 Aug;145(4):391-403. doi: 10.3200/SOCP.145.4.391-404.


The authors evaluated variations in help-seeking behaviors among Blacks and Whites and the role of cognitive-affective variables as mediators of these variations. Participants were 70 Black and 66 White community college students who completed the SCL-90-R (L. R. Derogatis, 1977, 1994), the Revised Multidimensional Health Locus of Control (T. Bekhuis et al., 1995), the Symptom Interpretation Questionnaire (J. M. Robbins & L. J. Kirmayer, 1991), and a measure of help-seeking behaviors and demographic information. Relative to White college students, Black college students significantly less frequently used psychological or social services and significantly more frequently used religious services. The authors accounted for group differences in religious help-seeking behaviors by beliefs in the power of God and by normalizing symptom attributions. The cognitive-affective variables that were studied did not account for differences in psychological help-seeking behaviors. The authors inferred that to better meet the needs of Black college students, collaboration between mental health services and religious services would likely be beneficial.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health / ethnology*
  • Black or African American
  • Ethnicity*
  • Female
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Male
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • White People