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Title The effect of self-affirmation on stigma associated with seeking psychological help
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Publication Date
University/Publisher Iowa State University
Abstract Even though there is evidence that psychotherapy is an effective means of helping people with mental health concerns, it is underutilized, largely because of the stigma surrounding mental disorders and psychological help. The main purpose of this study was to examine the effects of self-affirmation – the process of affirming important personal characteristics – on stigma and other proximal indicators of psychological help-seeking. It was hypothesized that when compared to a control group, a self-affirming group would demonstrate decreased self-stigma associated with seeking help. It was also posited that the self-affirming group would experience an increase in intentions to seek counseling, willingness to seek psychological help, and counseling-related information-seeking. Participants were 84 undergraduates from Iowa State University who had scored above a clinical cut-off, thereby approximating a clinically distressed population. Differences in outcome measures associated with psychological help-seeking were examined in the context of an experimental manipulation wherein participants completed one of two timed writing tasks; participants were randomly assigned to either a self-affirming writing task (self-affirmation), or a personally irrelevant writing task (control). Results partially supported the hypotheses. Compared to the control group, the self-affirmation condition had decreased self-stigma, but there were no other significant differences.
Subjects/Keywords help-seeking; psychotherapy; self-affirmation; self-stigma; stigma; Counseling Psychology; Social Psychology
Language en
Country of Publication us
Format application/pdf
Record ID oai:lib.dr.iastate.edu:etd-3849
Repository iastate
Date Retrieved
Date Indexed 2018-08-15

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…associated with mental illness as a significant barrier to seeking psychological help. Stigma can be understood as a set of deviant attributes that discredit an individual (Goffman, 1963). For example, people with mental illness have been…

stigma interventions may be helpful but insufficient ways of fully addressing the barriers that prevent individuals from seeking psychological help. Even the most effective interventions—contact with people who have mental illness—still only provides…

…1998, 2004; Corrigan, Larson, & Rsch, 2009; Corrigan & Watson, 2002; Rsch et al., 2005). One reason to focus on self-stigma is due to its 5 destructive effects on mental health and help-seeking outcomes for those with mental illness. Self…

…relevant mental health outcomes than public stigma (Vogel, Wade, & Hackler, 2007). For example, it is possible that some people might be aware of the public stigma of help seeking, but disagree with it due to positive personal experiences in…

…counseling (Vogel & Wade, 2009). They may, therefore, experience lower self-stigma associated with seeking help and be less likely to eschew obtaining psychological services. For these people, self-stigma but not public stigma, may be more…

…recently tested models in which self-stigma of seeking psychological help was found to fully mediate the relationship between public stigma and attitudes towards counseling and intentions to seek counseling, in both individual and group settings. Many…

…Corrigan & Watson, 2002; Corrigan et al., 2009; Ritsher & Otilingam, 2003). Yet, self-stigma of seeking psychological help may be more relevant for predicting help-seeking behavior in non- 6 psychiatric populations, for whom psychiatric mental…

…illnesses may not be as personally relevant. While self-stigma of seeking psychological help may overlap with aspects of selfstigma of mental illness, its focus may capture more relevant barriers to the help-seeking process itself (Vogel, Wade…

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