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Predictors of attitudes to seeking professional psychological help : a study of Greeks in Hobart

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Gallou, Laura (2007) Predictors of attitudes to seeking professional psychological help : a study of Greeks in Hobart. Coursework Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

LITERATURE REVIEW This review presents and evaluates current literature on cultural factors that influence
and possibly predict attitudes towards seeking professional psychological help by groups from
collectivist-type, non-Western backgrounds. The significance of culture in understanding
human behaviour is now widely accepted by social researches and culture is regarded as both
an antecedent and a consequence of behaviour. As such, culture affects our worldview and the
way we interact with others on a personal and group level. In collectivist orientated societies
the emphasis is on relationships rather than on independence and group goals are placed
above those of the individual. Thus focussing on one's own internal psychological processes
as when one seeks psychological help may be regarded as inappropriate as behaviours that
draw negative attention to the group may be regarded as disloyal and disruptive to social
harmony.
The review examines the literature relating to the cultural concepts of individualism-collectivism
and familism, acculturation, group support, social support and social network
orientation and how these have been shown to affect psychological help-seeking attitudes and
behaviours, as do culturally determined beliefs about mental and psychological health and
illness. Groups from collectivist, non-Western cultures often tend to be more reticent in
seeking professional psychological help and prefer to seek support from their immediate
group rather than from external sources. Finally, implications for clinical interventions are
discussed and suggestions are made for the development of culturally appropriate
interventions to promote positive attitudes to seeking professional psychological help among
groups from collectivist type cultures living in Western societies. EMPIRICAL STUDY The cultural variables of Individualism-Collectivism and acculturation, as well as the
variables of network orientation, gender, generation and education were examined as
predictors of attitudes towards seeking professional psychological help among first and
second generation Greeks in Hobart, Tasmania (N = 120). The following four measures were
used: The Individualism-Collectivism Scale by Triandis, Bontempo, Villareal, Asai, and
Lucca (1988); the Network Orientation Scale by Vaux (1985); the Attitudes Toward Seeking
Professional Psychological Help Abbreviated Scale by Fischer and Farina (1995); and an
Australian-Greek Acculturation Scale developed for this study.
Results indicated generational differences in the predictor variables. For first
generation participants, the significant predictors for seeking psychological help were ingroup
concern, ingroup distance and education. Distance from one's ingroup and educational level
correlated negatively with seeking psychological help for first generation participants. For the
second generation the significant predictor variables were gender and low adherence to Greek
culture. Results indicated that females had more positive attitudes towards seeking
professional psychological help, especially in second generation. In addition, the less this
generation adhered to Greek culture the more acculturated they were to Australian culture and
the more likely they were to feel positive towards seeking professional psychological help.
Contrary to previous findings, network orientation was not a predictor for seeking
psychological help for either gender or generation. This study confirms that some cultural
factors as well as generation and gender can affect one's attitudes to seeking professional psychological help and as such it supports previous findings in this area.
EMPIRICAL STUDY
The cultural variables of Individualism-Collectivism and acculturation, as well as the variables of network orientation, gender, generation and education were examined as predictors of attitudes towards seeking professional psychological help among first and second generation Greeks in Hobart, Tasmania (N = 120). The following four measures were used: The Individualism-Collectivism Scale by Triandis, Bontempo, Villareal, Asai, and Lucca (1988); the Network Orientation Scale by Vaux (1985); the Attitudes Toward Seeking Professional Psychological Help Abbreviated Scale by Fischer and Farina (1995); and an Australian-Greek Acculturation Scale developed for this study.
Results indicated generational differences in the predictor variables. For first generation participants, the significant predictors for seeking psychological help were ingroup concern, ingroup distance and education. Distance from one's ingroup and educational level correlated negatively with seeking psychological help for first generation participants. For the second generation the significant predictor variables were gender and low adherence to Greek culture. Results indicated that females had more positive attitudes towards seeking professional psychological help, especially in second generation. In addition, the less this generation adhered to Greek culture the more acculturated they were to Australian culture and the more likely they were to feel positive towards seeking professional psychological help. Contrary to previous findings, network orientation was not a predictor for seeking psychological help for either gender or generation. This study confirms that some cultural factors as well as generation and gender can affect one's attitudes to seeking professional psychological help and as such it supports previous findings in this area.
This study follows the cultural psychology paradigm in its examination of cultural factors that may predict attitudes towards seeking professional psychological help within the Greek community in Hobart, Tasmania. Whereas cross-cultural psychology investigates human behaviour, beliefs and attitudes in the context of culture and cultural differences across cultures, cultural psychology examines these from within a culture. A large part of both cultural and cross-cultural psychology research has concentrated on the study of groups from non-Western cultures in host Western countries and on how members of these groups function and integrate in Western societies that host minority populations from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

Item Type: Thesis (Coursework Master)
Keywords: Greeks, Cross-cultural counseling, Psychological consultation
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2007 the author

Additional Information:

Available for library use only and copying in accordance with the Copyright Act 1968, as amended. Thesis (MPsych(Devel&Ed)--University of Tasmania, 2007. Includes bibliographical references

Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2014 00:11
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2016 05:53
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