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J Gen Psychol. 2006 Oct;133(4):421-33.

Help seeking for alcohol problems in a college population.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Box 8112, Idaho State University, Pocatello, ID 83209, USA.


Despite the availability of effective treatments for problem drinkers, only a minority seek professional assistance. The authors investigated the influences on help seeking for alcohol-related difficulties in two separate studies. In Study 1, 59 men and 74 women completed questionnaires regarding their alcohol use, related problems, readiness to change, and help-seeking interest. The authors also developed a measure of stigma related to alcohol help seeking. Problem recognition, anxiety symptoms, and stigma predicted a global rating of help-seeking. Students (22 men and 60 women) participated in Study 2, which incorporated a multi-item measure of help-seeking intentions as well as attitude and personality measures. Positive attitudes, less perceived stigma, and greater self-efficacy increased help seeking. The findings highlight the importance of both approach and avoidance factors that affect help-seeking decisions, and the authors suggest directions for further research.

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