O'Halloran, M. Sean


Rings, Jeffrey A.

Committee Member

Black, Linda


Counseling Psychology


University of Northern Colorado

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Place of Publication

Greeley (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created





299 pages

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Born digital


Help seeking behaviors among college students is characterized by pervasive underutilization. The most common reason why students avoid treatment for mental illness is the fear of being stigmatized. The field of psychology has recognized and examined the stigma associated with gender and ethnicity, but has not fully explored the stigma related to other identities. Social class is one of the most meaningful cultural dimensions in people’s lives. Despite this recognition, examination of class, class inequality and classism are generally missing from psychological discourse even when multiculturalism is a central focus. This paper documents original research examining the influence of student experiences with classism on attitudes toward seeking mental health services and on psychological outcomes including emotional distress, college self-efficacy, and resilience. A hierarchical regression analysis evaluated whether students’ experiences with classism explained additional variance in help seeking attitudes after accounting for gender, ethnicity and social class status. This supports that a student‘s gender, ethnicity and perceived social class was helpful toward understanding help seeking behaviors. This study is additive by providing empirical support for the claim that a student s experience with classism is a significant part of the dynamic that explains student attitudes toward seeking mental health services. The data demonstrated that experiences with classism explained an additional proportion of the variance in attitudes toward seeking mental health services above and beyond gender, ethnicity and social class status. In terms of psychological distress, the data suggest that experiencing instances of classism was related to greater psychological distress. This research also found a small negative correlation between experiences with classism and college self-efficacy. Clinical implications and interventions to more fully address the experience of classism for college student are discussed.

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