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Understanding the barriers and facilitating factors to mental health help-seeking in Australian adolescent males with anxiety disorders
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 10:20 authored by Laura Clark
Aims: Adolescent males are consistently reported to be reluctant to seek help for common mental health problems. The aim of this thesis was to inform future developments of youth mental health interventions by enhancing the conceptual understanding of factors associated with help-seeking for clinical anxiety in this population. This aim was achieved by investigating the attitudes of adolescent males (both with and without experience of help-seeking for anxiety) towards help-seeking behaviour for anxiety disorders. In addition, the research investigated the attitudes of adolescent males towards a method often hypothesised to increase youth mental health help-seeking (computerised psychological support). Finally, the thesis investigated the relationships between identified barriers to youth help-seeking (mental health literacy, stigma, and parenting behaviour) and help-seeking attitudes, intentions and behaviour in adolescent males within the context of anxiety disorders. Scope: This thesis by published works comprises five papers reporting two qualitative and three quantitative investigations. Semi-structured interviews and focus groups were conducted with 31 adolescent males (aged 12 to 18 years) from both clinical and community samples. Quantitative online surveys were also completed by community samples of adolescent males (aged 12-18 years) from Sydney and Canberra, Australia. Conclusions: An in-depth understanding of barriers and facilitating factors to help-seeking, anxiety-specific mental health literacy, and stigma in adolescent males was elicited. Mental health literacy, stigma, and parenting behaviour were all found to have an association with help-seeking in adolescent males; although, this association was typically in relation to help-seeking attitudes and intentions as opposed to help-seeking behaviour. Social norms of hegemonic masculinity were found to influence a number of help-seeking variables investigated within the thesis.