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Journal Article


Zorrilla MM, Modeste N, Gleason PC, Sealy DA, Banta JE, Trieu SL. Am. J. Health Educ. 2019; 50(4): 236-244.


(Copyright © 2019, American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, Publisher Informa - Taylor and Francis Group)






BACKGROUND: One in five adults are diagnosed with mental illness in the United States. Young adults, ages 18 to 25, have the highest prevalence of depression (10.9%). Depression is also a risk factor for suicide. The current study applied the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB).

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to identify the predictors that influence help-seeking intentions on utilization of mental health services among a diverse population of young adults.

METHODS: The study designed was a cross-sectional online survey of 18 to 24-year-old young adults (n= 430) who lived, worked, and/or attended school in San Francisco, California. The survey was available in English, Spanish, and Chinese; and accessible from August 2016 through March 2017. The online survey was a modified version of surveys developed by Mo and Mak, and Reavley and colleagues.

RESULTS: The demographic composition of the sample included: white (35.3%), Latino(a) (25.3%), and Chinese (21.6%); and primarily female (58.6%). Almost one-third of the participants (31.6%) screened positive for depression. Nearly half of the participants had ever met with a mental health professional (49.5%, n=213). There was a strong, positive correlation for attitude [r=.61, P<.01] and help-seeking intention. Positive attitudes in help-seeking was a consistent predictor when using linear regression models.

DISCUSSION: The TPB variables, especially attitudes, were highly predictive in help-seeking intention for mental health services. Translation to Health Education Practice: Health Educators who work in college-based student health centers can use the findings to develop interventions at the individual and community levels.

Language: en


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