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J Adolesc. 2009 Jun;32(3):483-99. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2008.07.004. Epub 2008 Sep 10.

The personal service gap: factors affecting adolescents' willingness to seek help.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel.


The study explores adolescents' attitudes toward seeking help for emotional problems. The personal service gap is examined by asking adolescents about their willingness to refer themselves and others to formal (psychologists) and informal (friends) help sources, using a within-subjects design. The study included 662 Israeli adolescents in the 10th and 12th grades. The results indicate that adolescents refer peers more than themselves to a psychologist and to a friend. They are also more willing to refer themselves and peers to a friend rather than to a psychologist. Barriers to seeking psychological help are explored and significant correlations between perceptions of psychological benefit, problem severity and barriers to help seeking are described. Recommendations for increasing adolescents' awareness and use of help sources are suggested.

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