Adolescent mental health help-seeking from family and doctors: applying the theory of planned behaviour to the Northern Ireland schools and wellbeing study

Gavin Breslin*, Stephen Shannon, Garry Prentice, Michael Rosato, Gerard Leavey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
22 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background
Adolescent mental illness is of increasing concern, with prevalence increasing especially in females in the United Kingdom. While service-related barriers can deter help-seeking, the role of family support and engagement in family activities, and attitudes towards seeking help from a doctor has received little attention. Studies exploring help-seeking from family and medical practitioners have done so without incorporating theories of behaviour change. This study aims to develop a model of adolescent help-seeking using the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB).

Method
A cross-sectional survey of 1639 male and females aged 13–17 years in Northern Ireland. Structural Equation Modelling determined fit for TBP factors, with the addition of gender, experience of mental health issues, and engagement in family activities.

Results
The Structural Equation Model suggests an adequate description of the relationships between TPB variables [χ2(639) = 8302.36, p 
Conclusions
When supporting adolescent’s gender, engagement with family and trust in doctors should be considered, especially where they have experienced mental health issues and may be less willing to seek help.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)522-535
Number of pages14
JournalChild Care in Practice
Volume28
Issue number4
Early online date20 May 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright: © 2021 The Child Care in Practice Group.

Keywords

  • Mental health
  • general practitioners
  • help-seeking
  • self-harm
  • suicide

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