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Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2006 Sep;41(9):746-54. Epub 2006 Aug 1.

Attitudes and illness factors associated with low perceived need for depression treatment among young adults.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Section of General Internal Medicine, The University of Chicago, 5841 South Maryland Avenue, MC 20007, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.



We do not yet fully understand how low perceived need for treatment leads many young adults to not seek care for their depression.


A cross-sectional study of 10,962 depressed young adults (ages 16-29) who visited a depression screening/education Internet website. Based on the Theory of Reasoned Action, we developed a multivariate model to determine the effects of beliefs and attitudes, social norms, past treatment behavior, and symptom severity on low perceived depression treatment need (i.e., not agreeing that one needs depression treatment).


Negative beliefs and attitudes, social norms, and past treatment behavior predicted low perceived depression treatment need and explained more than half the model variance. Even after adjusting for depression severity and symptoms of other mental disorders, lacking confidence in either a biological or counseling based explanation or treatment approach for depression predicted low perceived depression treatment need.


Lack of helpful treatment experiences and/or confidence in either of the currently practiced depression treatment models may prevent many young adults from seeking depression treatment.

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