Self-stigma of seeking help in Lithuanian and US mental health care students and professionals

  • A. Pranckeviciene
  • K. Zardeckaite-Matulaitiene
  • R. Marksaityte
  • A. Endriulaitiene
  • D.R. Tillman
  • D.D. Hof


Background. The aim of this study was to evaluate and to compare self-stigma of seeking help (SSSH) in Lithuanian and US students and professionals of mental health care related professions. Methods. In total 1011 psychology, social work and counseling students (300 from US, 711 from Lithuania) and 335 professionals (98 from US, and 237 from Lithuania) participated in the study. Self-Stigma of Seeking Help Scale (Vogel, Wade, Haake, 2006) was used as a measure of negative attitudes towards psychological help seeking. Participants were also asked about their actual help-seeking behavior. Findings. ANCOVA analysis in students’ sample revealed that age, year of the studies and country of residence were significantly related to SSSH; with US students, younger students and undergraduate students reporting more negative attitudes towards psychological help-seeking. No effect of culture, gender or professional experience was observed in professionals’ sample. However older age was related to higher SSSH in professionals. Logistic regressions revealed that SSSH was the strongest predictor of actual help seeking behavior both in students and professionals. Discussion. SSSH is related to actual help-seeking behavior in psychology, social work and counseling students and professionals, with the potential to delay psychological help-seeking when it might be needed. Results of this study illustrate complex relationships between SSSH and demographic, professional and cultural variables. Thus, while developing programs for help-seeking stigma reduction in mental health professionals, age, professional experience and culture should be taken in to account; different strategies for students and professionals might be needed.
Poster presentations