Student attitudes toward seeking and using counseling services

This chapter discusses the past studies related with the students’ attitudes toward seeking and using counseling services for psychological problems. This study uses the research instrument developed by Fischer and Turner (1970). The literatures about this study will be divided into few parts. The first part of the literature review is about previous studies on the attitudes toward seeking and using counseling services among students. The second part is the previous literatures on the attitudes toward seeking and using counseling services in Malaysia. Next part discusses about relationship between attitudes toward seeking and using counseling services and factors such as gender, self-disclosure, and self-concealment and the last part is about students’ choices of their preferred person to discuss their personal problems.

2.2 Counseling-Seeking Behavior and Attitudes

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A study about the attitudes in seeking and using counseling services for the psychological problem has begin since Fischer and Turner (1970) construct a standard instrumentation to test the attitudes toward getting a professional help for psychological problems in 1970. Since then, there were lots of related researches have been doing. The inventory built by Fischer and Turner (1970) consists of 29 items using Likert scale. A high score shows the positive attitude toward seeking for professional counseling helps.

According to Fischer and Turner (1970), a person will have the perception and belief that getting a professional help is a sign that he or she is weak and also as a sign of failure. A decision to get some professional help is the last resort for individual, in which they cannot put up anymore with the psychological situation. Contrarily, an individual may voluntarily seek for professional help when he or she is facing a little problem.

The participants for Fischer and Turner’s study involve the students who come from different background, age and educational institution. 492 female students and 468 male students in this study are among a high school student, college student, and university student. The result of the study shown that there are the differences between gender in attitudes toward seeking professional help for psychological problems. Female students significantly showed higher scores than male students.

Setiawan (2006) examined these factors with 1276 Indonesian university students in two contexts; counseling services outside and inside the university. Students are asked their willingness of counseling about different problem areas and discouraging and encouraging factors in seeking help in two different contexts. All three factors were found to be influential to some degree. As a personal factor, aˆzhaving family and friends who can helpaˆY and aˆzperceived self-sufficiencyaˆY were the most frequently reported discouraging factors from seeking the universityaˆYs counseling service. Students also mentioned the unpopularity of counseling in Indonesian, which is a socio-cultural issue, as a discouraging factor in counseling.

2.3 Attitudes toward Seeking and Using Counseling Services in Malaysia

In Malaysia, few studies have been made to understand the students’ attitudes toward counseling and guidance services. Salina (2004) did a research toward 206 students, which consists of students from form 2 and form 4 at one of the school in Port Klang to know the students’ attitudes toward counseling and guidance services. This research was also done to see the differences of students’ attitudes in term of gender, class, and race. In summary, attitudes have an important role in psychological help seeking behavior and numerous factors, which influence attitudes, are studied in the literature. Although there are several studies conducted in other countries, few of them are from Turkey. So, present study is expected to make a contribution to the existing knowledge of psychological help-seeking attitudes of Turkish university students.

2.4 Factors Influencing Attitudes toward Seeking and Using Counseling Services
2.4.1 Gender

Leong & Zachar (1999) viewed that both male and female have different attitudes toward seeking counseling helps. So that the gender factor is important to determine the attitudes toward seeking and using counseling helps. Past studies (Good & Wood, 1995; Wisch et al., 1995) shown that men who have less tendency in seeking for counseling helps are those who are avoiding from expressing their feeling to other people, and only concentrating on their career for their livelihood. According to Vogel & Wester (2003), women are more receptive and have positive attitudes in seeking counseling services compare to the men.

Sharpe dan Hepper (1991) stated that men who are not seeking for counseling help do not mean that they are free from a problematic life and emotional disturbance. Contrarily, they do have their own problems but because of they are having conflicts in their gender role, they tend not to get a help from counselor or seeking help from any other professionals. The researchers also agree that males have been educated to not express their feelings and show their emotion as those actions are very common in females. As a result, males tend to avoid themselves from telling others, including the counselors about their personal matters. They do not show their emotional feelings to others because afraid to be regarded as a ‘female’. So, all these perception and action should be avoided and eliminated as it may cause males to show negative attitudes toward seeking counseling services.

Blazina and Watkins (1996) carried out a study with 148 male undergraduates and concluded that men who have higher gender role conflict scores (negative effect caused by one’s gender role) were found to have more negative help-seeking attitudes than men who scored lower. Additionally, they reported that success, power, and competition and restricted emotionality components of gender role conflict significantly predicted negative help-seeking attitudes.

Another study conducted on 575 male undergraduate students by Pederson and Vogel (2007) found that self stigma and low tendency to self-disclose caused by gender role conflict lead to less favorable help-seeking attitudes which is associated with less willingness to seek psychological help.

Past research shows that there are significant correlations between sex orientation and attitudes (Johnson & Knackstedt, 1993). Studies have established that female students hold more positive attitudes towards professional psychological help-seeking than males. Furthermore females were found to be more tolerant of stigma associated with seeking professional psychological help, more willing to recognize a personal need for help and more open to sharing problems with others (Johnson, 1988). Past research also suggests that male participants in particular were more likely to perceive mental conditions as a sign of personal weakness more so than physical conditions, which are more likely to be discussed openly amongst friends and family (Fischer & Farina, 1995).

Attitudes toward seeking psychological help was also found to mediate the relationship between traditional masculinity ideology (believing that men should be strong, robust, self-reliant, independent) and intention to seek help in a study carried out with 307 undergraduate men (Smith, Tran & Thompson, 2008). So, the effect of gender should be evaluated while working with help-seeking attitudes.

2.4.2 Prior Help-Seeking Experience

Individual who has been seeking for counseling services also found to be related with the attitude toward counseling help. Cash, Kehr, and Salzbach (1978) did a research on relationship between attitude toward counseling service and the perception toward counselor’s behavior. The research involves 219 university students, aged from 18-26 years old. Participant who was reported had been receiving professional psychological help has shown more positive attitude compare to the individual who never getting any counseling help.

Fischer and Turner (1970) in their research also reported that the respondent who previously had been seeking and receiving professional help for psychological problem, shown more positive and encouraging attitude.

2.4.3 Self-Disclosure
2.4.4 Self-Concealment

Kelly and Achter (1995) found that self-concealers have negative attitudes toward counseling when it was emphasized that the client had to disclose personal information during counseling.

2.4.4 Other Factors

In the literature, several other factors which influence attitudes toward psychological help-seeking are studied such as self concealment (Cepeda-Benito & Short, 1998; Kelly & Achter, 1995); self-disclosure (Vogel & Wester, 2003; Vogel et al., 2005); perceived stigma (Komiya, Good & Sheriya, 2000; Vogel et al., 2005); individualism-collectivism (Tata & Leong, 1994); degree of acculturation (Tata & Leong, 1994; Miville & Constantine, 2006). Among these variables culture related factors have been widely examined since studies show differences between western and eastern cultural groups in attitudes toward seeking psychological help.

2.5 Conclusion

The primary focus of this study is trying to address the issues of how gender role, self-disclosure and self-concealment will affect the attitudes toward seeking and using counseling services among university students. Usage and acceptance of credit cards therefore is a mediating variable that impacts a particular compulsive buying as cardholders will vary on the lifestyle. Cardholders have their own interest and preference towards of how they buying something using credit cards. As cardholders background is vary, but there are not impossible that people who comes from the low class has a high taste. So the issue arise that everyone can achieve anything they wants with using credit card, even if without credit cards, they are actually not affordable to get it.

University counseling can be defined as “a myriad of developmental services that make counseling and counseling-related services available and accessible to students within the context of a specific environment” (Dean & Meadows, 1995, p.141).

Attitudes toward seeking psychological help are mostly investigated and found to be the most significant variable in understanding help seeking behavior (Vogel, Wester, Wei & Boysen, 2005). Too many factors affecting help-seeking attitudes are studied in the literature; gender (Chang, 2007; Duncan & Johnson, 2007; Gloria, Castellanos, Park & Kim, 2008), self disclosure (Vogel & Wester, 2003; Vogel et. al., 2005), self concealment (Larson & Chastain, 1990) and reported to influence attitudes toward seeking psychological help.

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