Racial group differences in help-seeking behaviors

Liat Ayalon, Michael A. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-404
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Social Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • African americans
  • Locus of control
  • Psychological services
  • Religious services
  • Service use
  • Symptom attribution
  • Whites


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