Relationship Help Seeking
Seeking psychological treatment for relationship problems is a complex decision making process. In fact, many individuals who may be experiencing distressing issues within their relationship may never seek treatment (Doss, Simpson, & Christenson, 2004). There are multiple components that may be connected to why couples choose to delay or not seek help all, such as stigma (Amato & Bradshaw, 1985; Capeda-Benito & Short, 1998). Since so many couples choose not to seek treatment, it is important to have a better understanding of what factors may relate to or predict couples’ decisions whether or not to seek help.
Along with investigating factors related to help seeking, ...view middle of the document...
These five factors include self-stigma, other-sigma, disclosure expectations, violence within relationships, and gender (Ansara & Hindin, 2010; Doss, Atkins, & Christensen, 2003; Vogel & Wester, 2003; Vogel, Wester, Wei, & Boysen, 2005). The following paper discusses the research conducted on these five factors and how they may be predictive of attitudes and intentions toward psychological help seeking for relationship problems among couples.
Attitudes and Intentions Toward Help Seeking
Doss et al. (2003) described the decision to seek help as a process. To better explain this phenomenon, the authors investigated the process of seeking couples therapy for married individuals. The overall goal of their study was to gain a better understanding of the process of seeking counseling from both the husband’s and wive’s perspectives.
The authors established that wives and husbands alike reported that wives were the active leader in seeking therapy compared to their husbands. Doss et al. (2003) also found that sexual dissatisfaction among husbands was predictive of husbands being more active in every step toward seeking counseling services. Furthermore, it was discovered that younger husbands were more likely to recognize when a serious problem was arising within their marriage, but older husbands were more likely to complete the treatment seeking steps. The researchers suggested that gender, type of problem within the relationship, and age may be linked to the help seeking process among married couples.
Additionally, Vogel et al. (2005) examined the predictive factors of seeking psychological services by conducting two different studies with individual college students. The first study examined eleven different psychological factors and intent to seek help, as well as the factors’ effects on three different psychological problems. The psychological problems included interpersonal issues, academic issues, and drug and alcohol issues. In the second study, the authors focused on investigating the role of positive and negative outcome expectations in relation to emotional self disclosure to a psychological professional. In study one, the authors found that five psychological factors, social support, anticipated utility, social stigma, social norms, and self disclosure and previous use of counseling services, predicted attitudes towards seeking help. Vogel et al. also discovered that attitudes toward seeking help predicted the intent to seek help, specifically for interpersonal and drug problems.
Moreover, in study two, Vogel et al. (2005) found that participants who had experienced a distressing event had an increased likelihood to seek professional help, but only under the condition that anticipated risks were high. The researchers also found that anticipated outcomes of emotional expression seems to be affiliated with the decision making process when seeking help. Amato and Bradshaw (1985) also found similar results with individuals and...