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Title: Development of a student help-seeking model
Author: Stevenson, Sarah
ISNI:       0000 0004 2722 2746
Awarding Body: University of Ulster
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2011
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Psychological health problems are rising amongst the student population, yet a review of empirical literature found that counselling services remain underutilised due to high stigma consciousness (Storrie, Ahern and Tuckett, 2010). Every university has the potential to reach out and support its students (Hunt and Eisenberg, 2010); however achieving this requires tailored interventions that are informed by research with targeted groups. This study responds to a dearth in qualitative research surrounding Northern Irish students' help-seeking route to professional care. Current help-seeking models presented pathways to care for the general public but were not found to illustrate the multidimensional journey that a first year undergraduate student may take in response to social identity processes. The present investigation employed Social Identity Theory as a framework for understanding psychological health stigma along the student help-seeking route. A survey was administered to generate a consensus of students' attitudes towards mental well-being and help- seeking. Following this, 27-semi-structured interviews were carried out and underwent thematic analysis using NVivo 8. Findings illuminate stigma amplifiers and mediators that were specific to this particular target group. Stigma was identified as a major barrier, manifested in the salient prototypical concept of lithe coping student", which underlines a tacit expectation that new students should exhibit emotional independence regardless of adversity. Severe problems were thought to warrant seeking help from practitioners; however the general consensus was that students may benefit from avoidance of counselling for non-legitimate problems, to protect their public identity and self-concept. Findings illuminate how social psychological processes encompassing lithe first year mentality" cultivate stigmatic perceptions regarding help-seeking for psycho-emotional concerns. This targeted study has extended Social Identity Theory's application to stigma research by developing a new model of students help-seeking that may inform counsellor training, practice and provision, including the way in which counselling can be made available to students.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available