Gender Differences in Attitudes Toward Help Seeking: Before and After Counseling Experiences

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Student Presentation

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Faculty Sponsor

Matthew Genuchi


Understanding contextual factors that influence the psychotherapy process has been a focus of psychological research during the past four decades. One such factor is gender-- and more specifically, masculinity. Men are diagnosed with substance-use disorders and successfully commit suicide at alarmingly higher rates (Addis & Mahalik, 2003). Although these are indicators of depression, men are diagnosed with depression at much lower rates than women (Nolen-Hoeksema & Girgus, 1994). This discrepancy is possibly mediated by gender differences in attitudes towards help-seeking (ATHS), as men seek out professional help much less often than women, especially for depression (Cochran & Rabinowitz, 2003). This is possibly because behaviors that men perceive as part of the counseling process are inconsistent with attitudes associated with traditional masculine role norms (Berger et al, 2013). We hypothesized that women would have a more favorable view of psychotherapy while men’s view would be negatively correlated to their level of adherence to gender role norms. Our pretest/posttest research design determines the effects of counseling experiences on ATHS in approximately 200 men and women receiving counseling in a local clinic, additionally gathering data on men’s level of adherence to traditional masculinity norms as a possible mediating factor in their ATHS.

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