Factors that influence young people's mental health help‐seeking behaviour : a study based on the Health Belief Model

O'Connor, Peter J., Martin, Brett, Weeks, Clinton S., & Ong, Luzian (2014) Factors that influence young people's mental health help‐seeking behaviour : a study based on the Health Belief Model. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 70(11), pp. 2577-2587.

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To identify key predictors and moderators of mental health ‘help-seeking behavior’ in adolescents.


Mental illness is highly prevalent in adolescents and young adults; however, individuals in this demographic group are among the least likely to seek help for such illnesses. Very little quantitative research has examined predictors of help-seeking behaviour in this demographic group.


A cross-sectional design was used.


A group of 180 volunteers between the ages of 17–25 completed a survey designed to measure hypothesized predictors and moderators of help-seeking behaviour. Predictors included a range of health beliefs, personality traits and attitudes. Data were collected in August 2010 and were analysed using two standard and three hierarchical multiple regression analyses.


The standard multiple regression analyses revealed that extraversion, perceived benefits of seeking help, perceived barriers to seeking help and social support were direct predictors of help-seeking behaviour. Tests of moderated relationships (using hierarchical multiple regression analyses) indicated that perceived benefits were more important than barriers in predicting help-seeking behaviour. In addition, perceived susceptibility did not predict help-seeking behaviour unless individuals were health conscious to begin with or they believed that they would benefit from help.


A range of personality traits, attitudes and health beliefs can predict help-seeking behaviour for mental health problems in adolescents. The variable ‘Perceived Benefits’ is of particular importance as it is:

(1) a strong and robust predictor of help-seeking behaviour, and;

(2) a factor that can theoretically be modified based on health promotion programmes.

Impact and interest:

10 citations in Scopus
10 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 72655
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Adolescent Health, Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Mental Health, Nursing
DOI: 10.1111/jan.12423
ISSN: 0309-2402
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NURSING (111000)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations
Current > Schools > School of Management
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Deposited On: 09 Jun 2014 23:28
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2014 03:43

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