The influence of cultural mistrust, religious commitment, and racial identity on help-seeking attitudes in the African American community
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It is widely documented that African Americans consistently underutilize mental health services (Hu, Snowden, Jerrell, & Nguyen, 1991; Snowden & Cheung, 1990; Takeuchi, Sue, & Yeh, 1995; Woodward, Taylor, Bullard, Neighbors, Chatters, & Jackson, 2008). The purpose of the current study was to investigate the influence of different cultural factors that may influence the help–seeking attitudes of members of the African American community. Specifically, religious commitment, racial identity, and cultural mistrust were examined to determine the extent to which these factors predicted African American study participants' attitudes towards seeking professional psychological help. The Religious Commitment Inventory–10 (RCI–10; Worthington, Wade, Hight, Ripley, McCollough, Berry, Schmitt, Berry, Bursley, & O'Connor, 2003), Cross Racial Identity Scale (CRIS; Vandiver, Cross, Fhagen–Smith, & Worrell, 2002; Worrell, Cross, & Vandiver, 2001), Cultural Mistrust Inventory (CMI; Terrell & Terrell, 1981), and Attitudes Towards Seeking Professional Psychological Help (ATSPPH–10; Fischer & Farina, 1995) were used to measure study variables. A personal data form also helped obtain demographic information about the study participants. Participants comprised of a community–based sample of 138 African Americans. The results of multiple regression analysis indicated that scores lower on Internalized Multiculturalist Inclusive Subscale and higher on Cultural Mistrust Inventory and Pre–Encounter Miseducation Subscale significantly predicted higher scores on Attitudes Towards Seeking Professional Psychological Help Scale. Scores on Internalized Multiculturalist Inclusive explained the highest percentage of professional psychological help–seeking attitudes followed by Cultural Mistrust and Pre–Encounter Miseducation, respectively. These findings indicated that individuals who have a less multiculturally integrated sense of self, are more mistrusting of Whites, and hold more negative stereotypes about the Black community are less likely to perceive professional psychological services as beneficial. Implications of the study findings and directions for future research are discussed.