A Cross-Cultural Comparisons of Factors Related to Help-Seeking Attitudes for Psychological Disorder
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It has been reported that Asian people have negative views of mental illness, including beliefs that it is incurable and shameful. Asian people also tend to attribute causes of mental disorders to factors less susceptible to personal influence such as supernatural factors, and are likely to have an external health locus of control which reflects beliefs that health outcomes are a product of external factors such as luck. In the present study, each of the above constructs were compared between American and Asian students. In addition, the above constructs were used to predict self-report of utilization of various treatment modalities. Four inventories were developed to assess the above constructs and treatment preferences. Reliability and validity of the new measures were examined. Results revealed that Asian students were more likely than American students to identify psychological disorder as shameful and its sufferers as socially untrustworthy and dangerous. Asian students were also more likely to attribute the causes of psychological disorder to supernatural factors than American students, and were more likely to seek folk medicine remedies for psychological disorder than were American students were. Both American and Asian students endorsed family care as the most preferable treatment approach, followed by psychological intervention, medical intervention, folk medicine intervention, and no treatment. An internal mental health locus of control predicted participants' willingness to seek no treatment. Among Asian students, beliefs in the untrustworthiness of the mentally ill predicted their willingness to seek folk medicine treatment. Attribution of psychological disorder to supernatural causes predicted their unwillingness to seek medical treatment. Among American students, an internal mental health locus of control predicted participants' willingness to seek no treatment. Attribution of supernatural causes and an internal mental health locus of control predicted their willingness to seek folk medicine treatment. A belief that mentally ill people were untrustworthy predicted a preference for medical interventions.
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