Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Attitudes Towards Mental Health Treatment: An Assessment of Jewish Young Adults
by Levkovich, Brian, Psy.D., Hofstra University, 2020, 86; 28021920
Abstract (Summary)

While many people in the United States are in need of mental health treatment, a large portion of them do not receive services. This is due to several barriers, one of which is mental illness stigmatization (Scrambler, 2004). This has been associated with negative attitudes regarding mental health treatment, which have been inversely linked with intentions to receive treatment (Vogel, Wade, & Hackler, 2007; Vogel, Wester, Wei, & Boysen, 2005) and use of treatment (Mackenzie, Knox, Gekoski, & Macaulay, 2004; Vogel et al., 2005).

Attitudes towards treatment are influenced by various factors. For instance, males, younger adults, and college students (Eisenberg, Golberstein, & Gollust, 2007; Sirey et al., 2001a; Sirey et al., 2001b) tend hold more negative attitudes. In particular, traditional masculinity ideology plays a role (Berger, Levant, McMillan, Kelleher, & Sellers, 2005). Alternatively, the existence of social support (Vogel et al., 2005), prior treatment (Mackenzie, Gekoski, & Knox, 2006; Mojtabai, 2007), and familiarity with mental illness are linked with less negative treatment attitudes (Alexander & Link, 2003; Angermeyer & Dietrich, 2006). Minority status (Conner et al., 2010; Snowden, 2001) and religious affiliation also affect these attitudes (Crosby & Bossley, 2012; Eisenberg, Downs, Golberstein, & Zivin, 2009).

Jewish attitudes towards treatment appear to be relatively negative, particularly amongst Orthodox individuals (Feinberg & Feinberg, 1985; Pirutinsky, Rosen, Safran, & Rosmarin, 2010; Schnall et al., 2004). Existing research in fact suggests that greater religiosity would be associated with more negative attitudes towards treatment. It was therefore hypothesized that within the Jewish community, more religious young adults would have more negative treatment attitudes, while taking other relevant variables into account. Based on prior studies in the general population, it was also predicted that increased social support, greater femininity, previous treatment, and having a family member or friend would be correlated with more positive attitudes in Jewish individuals while considering other relevant variables at the same time. Specific university and area of study were examined in relation to treatment attitudes as well.

Treatment attitudes were measured via the Inventory of Attitudes Towards Seeking Mental Health Services (Mackenzie et al., 2004). Additionally, religiosity was measured using the Centrality of Religiosity Scale (Huber & Huber, 2012), social support was measured using the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (Zimet, Dahlem, Zimet, & Farley, 1988), and masculinity/femininity was assessed using the Traditional Masculinity/Femininity Scale (Kachel, Steffens, & Niedlich, 2016). A demographic questionnaire asked about other variables. A total of 351 responses were analyzed, with participants studying in either Hofstra University or Yeshiva University. Simultaneous multiple regression was used.

Results showed that when all seven predictor variables were examined simultaneously, the following variables showed significant relationships with treatment attitudes: religiosity (p < .05), perceived social support (p < .001), previous treatment (p < .05), the existence of a family member or friend with a mental illness (p < .05), and the study of a mental health-related subject (p < .05). In contract, masculinity/femininity and specific university were not significantly associated with treatment attitudes in the simultaneous regression (p > .05). This study provides important information to guide future research in this area. Its findings can help inform outreach initiatives in university settings as they relate to attitudes that may prevent individuals from pursuing mental health treatment in the Jewish community. Strengths, limitations, and ideas for future research are presented.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Gilbert, Kimberly
Commitee: Dill, Charles, Shin, Jin, Tsytsarev, Sergei, McVey, Merry
School: Hofstra University
Department: School-Community Psychology
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-B 82/1(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Psychology
Keywords: Mental health treatment, Jewish young adults, Mental illness stigmatization
Publication Number: 28021920
ISBN: 9798662428591
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