The Utility of the Health Belief Model Variables in Predicting Help-Seeking Intention for Anxiety Disorders

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Australian Psychologist, 2018, 53 (4), pp. 291 - 301
Issue Date:
2018-08-01
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© 2017 The Australian Psychological Society Objective: Anxiety disorders are common, and effective treatments exist, however, many people with anxiety disorders do not access these treatments due to numerous barriers. The current study aimed to examine treatment barriers that are specific to anxiety disorders and to examine the utility of the Health Belief Model (HBM) variables in predicting intention to seek psychological help in relation to anxiety disorders. Method: The study employed a cross-sectional design and participants were a convenience sample comprising first year psychology students and other individuals who were interested in participating. A total of 278 individuals voluntarily participated in the current study by completing a battery of online self-report measures. Of these participants, there was an 89% completion rate and 243 met inclusion criteria (81% female; Mean age 25.58, SD = 10.69). Results: The most commonly reported barriers in this population included “I would not be able to afford treatment” (52%), followed by “I think I can/should work out my own problems rather than talking to a psychologist” (49%). Regression analyses indicated that 51% of the variance in intention to seek psychological help can be accounted for by the HBM variables. Perceived treatment benefits were the strongest predictor of help-seeking intention. Conclusions: The study highlights that individuals must interpret psychological treatment as potentially helpful in order to seek help for anxiety disorders. In order to improve help-seeking for anxiety disorders it is essential that professional bodies use targeted marketing strategies to increase the perceived helpfulness of seeing a mental health professional.
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