The utility of the health belief model variables in predicting help-seeking intention for depressive symptoms

Taylor and Francis
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australian Psychologist, 2021, 56, (3), pp. 233-244
Issue Date:
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Objective: Depressive disorders are prevalent and associated with significant burden. Although effective treatments exist, many individuals do not seek help. The current study aims to examine the barriers to help-seeking for depressive symptoms in an Australian sample, and to examine the utility of Health Belief Model (HBM) factors in predicting the likelihood of future help-seeking in relation to depressive disorders. Method: The study used a cross-sectional design. One hundred and eighty Australians aged over 18 completed the current study (M age = 35.85; SD = 13.43; 76.1% female). Results: The most influential treatment barriers in this sample related to direct costs, indirect costs, and a belief that treatment from a psychologist was not needed. Regression analysis indicated that 49% of the variance in intention to seek help from a psychologist was associated with HBM variables. Level of perceived treatment benefit was the strongest predictor of help-seeking intention. Conclusion: In order to increase help-seeking for depressive disorders, public health campaigns must enhance perceptions about the benefits of psychological treatment and government policy and/or treatment providers must work to reduce the direct and indirect costs of psychological treatments within Australia. Key Points What is already known about this topic: (1)Depressive disorders are prevalent conditions and are associated with significant burden. (2)While effective psychological treatments for depression exist, few seek treatment. (3)The Health Belief Model has been used to investigate help-seeking intention in anxiety disorders, but not depressive disorder. What this topic adds: (1)Individuals with depressive symptom in Australia experience a number of barriers to accessing treatment. (2)The Health Belief Model can predict a significant amount variance in help-seeking intention for individuals with depressive symptoms. (3)Perceived treatment benefit is the strongest predictor of help seeking intention.
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