Francheska Garcia , Texas A&M University – Kingsville

Ethnic and Gender Differences in Mental Health Beliefs and Professional Help Seeking Among Latino/a And non-Latino/a Caucasian College Students

Abstract: Mental illness, a frequent diagnosis among college students, if left untreated, may lead to increased daily dysfunction and possible suicidality. This study expands on past research pertaining to self-stigmas when seeking professional mental help as a predictor of seeking help from a psychologist among Latina/o and Non-Latina/o Caucasian college students.  Results from a preliminary same of 67 South-Texas college students found that Latina females exhibited a weaker prediction of less likelihood for seeking professional mental health help from greater self-stigma compared to Non-Latina Caucasian females. Latino males displayed a greater prediction of less likelihood of seeking professional help, when exhibiting greater symptoms of self-stigma than Non-Latino Caucasian males. Even with our small preliminary sample, cultural differences are marked and statistically significant. This study will provide us with a better understanding of cultural-related barriers to mental illness, help seeking among genders and ethnicities, and ways to improve professional mental health assistance. Further data collection is currently underway. A larger sample will allow for advanced statistical regression modeling of the moderating influence of the strength of adherence to Latina/o cultural values on the prediction of likelihood to seek professional help from strength of self-stigma when seeking help from a psychological professional.

Presentation Author(s):
Francheska Garcia*

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