Rings, Jeffrey A.
College of Education and Behavioral Sciences; Department of Applied Psychology and Counselor Education, Program of Counseling Psychology
University of Northern Colorado
Type of Resources
Place of Publication
University of Northern Colorado
This study examined the effects that the Man Therapy website may have on men’s attitudes and intentions toward seeking professional psychological services, factors that play a role in deciding if they will eventually engage in the behavior of seeking of professional psychological services according to the theory of planned behavior. A large number of men die by suicide every year, and many men struggle with mental health concerns. Various components of masculinities can serve as barriers that dissuade men from seeking treatment for these concerns. Man Therapy is a novel approach that attempts to better engage men with professional psychological services. However, to date there are no third-party, peer-reviewed studies regarding the effectiveness of Man Therapy. This study was designed to answer the following research questions: Does the Man Therapy website increase the likelihood of men to seek professional psychological help, and do men who previously received a formal mental health diagnosis or professional psychological services have higher intentions to use professional psychological services in the future? A total of 204 participants were recruited through MTurk to participate in this study. Participants were adult men who either lived in the U.S. or were U.S. citizens. They were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: the Man Therapy website, mentalhealth.gov, or Wikipedia. Participants completed the Mental Help Seeking Attitudes Scale and the Mental Help Seeking Intentions Scale both before and after exposure to their randomly assigned condition. The pretest and posttest scores on these measures were analyzed using a repeated measures MANOVA (n = 188) to determine differences between conditions as well as between pretest and posttest scores. Neither measure demonstrated increased mean scores after exposure to the Man Therapy website. Further, participants assigned to the Man Therapy condition did not have higher mean posttest scores than did participants assigned to the other conditions. One hypothesis predicted that participants who had previously been given a formal mental health diagnosis, who had previously participated in professional psychological services, or both would have higher pretest scores on a measure of intentions; this hypothesis was supported, as those participants demonstrated higher pretest scores on the Mental Help Seeking Intentions Scale. Overall, this study did not find strong evidence to support the idea that the Man Therapy website increases score on the Mental Help Seeking Intentions Scale or the Mental Help Seeking Attitudes Scale, which in turn may predict future behavior toward seeking professional psychological services. Potential reasons for this are discussed, including the possibility that any differences were too small to be detected by the statistical analyses; the power of the statistical analyses employed was not sufficient to detect differences smaller in magnitude than a medium effect size. Limitations for the study are also described, such as how the proposed statistical analyses were changed due to unexpected distributions in the data. Further study of Man Therapy may help clarify some of these findings and guide future efforts to better connect men with professional psychological services.
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