Health beliefs and help seeking for depressive and anxiety disorders among urban Singaporean adults

Psychiatr Serv. 2008 Jan;59(1):105-8. doi: 10.1176/ps.2008.59.1.105.


Objective: This study examined whether help seeking for mental problems was predicted by beliefs about mental illness and services and by family and social support.

Methods: Singaporean adults (N= 2,801) were interviewed with the Schedule for Clinical Assessment in Neuropsychiatry and with questions on mental health status, beliefs about the curability of mental illness, embarrassment and stigma, ease of discussing mental problems, effectiveness and safety of treatment, and trust in professionals.

Results: Although 10% of respondents had a depressive or anxiety disorder or combination, only 3% acknowledged having mental problems, 5% rated their mental health as fair or poor, and 6% sought help for their mental health problems. Help seeking was predicted by poor self-rated mental health and acknowledged mental illness but not by health beliefs and social support.

Conclusions: Self-rated mental health status was predictive of help seeking, but other health beliefs and social support were neither strong nor robust predictors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Anxiety Disorders* / psychology
  • Anxiety Disorders* / therapy
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Culture*
  • Depressive Disorder* / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder* / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder* / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Singapore / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data*