The impact of a culturally relevant psychoeducational intervention on depression health care seeking among African American college students




Bamgbade, Benita Adejoke

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The purpose of this study was to develop a culturally relevant theory-based psychoeducational intervention for African American (AA) college students and to understand how it can impact depression help seeking willingness and subsequent behavior. The study tested the impact of the intervention on participants’ willingness, attitude, perceived behavioral control (PBC) and mental illness stigma (MIS) from baseline to immediate post-test. Additionally, utilizing the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB), the study tested the significance of each TPB model construct variable (attitude, subjective norm [SN] and PBC) in predicting AA college students’ willingness to seek professional help for depression. The study also examined the contributions of MIS and cultural variables (medical mistrust, self-reliance and religiosity) to the TPB model. Of the 103 AA college students who signed up to participate in the study intervention, 75 completed the paper pre-test (72.8% participation rate). Of these participants, 70 (93.3%) completed the paper immediate post-test and 50 (66.7%) completed the web-based 3 month follow-up survey. Three focus groups were conducted to collect information regarding AA college students’ beliefs toward seeking professional help for depression. The intervention improved AA college students’ willingness to seek professional help, their attitude toward professional help seeking, their perceived behavioral control over professional help seeking and decreased their MIS. The TPB constructs were not significant predictors of AA college student’s willingness. Neither the direct nor the indirect models were statistically significant, explaining only 12.1 percent (Adjusted R2= 3.4%) and 15.0 percent (Adjusted R2= 5.4%) of the variance in willingness, respectively. Additionally, MIS and the cultural variables did not add to the prediction of willingness. The results of this study support the utility of culturally relevant psychoeducational interventions for AA college students in improving willingness to seek professional help. The mechanism by which this occurs is unclear and may not be through the TPB model. Future studies evaluating factors that impact AA college students’ willingness to seek help for depression are needed to better understand help seeking in this population and to further refine culturally relevant psychoeducational interventions.


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