Students' self-reports of help-seeking: The impact of psychological problems, stress, and demographic variables on utilization of formal and informal support

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J. M. Oliver
Cynthia K. S. Reed
Barry M. Katz
James A. Haugh
Cite this article:  Oliver, J., Reed, C., Katz, B., & Haugh, J. (1999). Students' self-reports of help-seeking: The impact of psychological problems, stress, and demographic variables on utilization of formal and informal support. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 27(2), 109-128.


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Undergraduates (N = 248) at a private, midsize, Midwestern university provided self-reports of their psychological problems, stress, demographic variables, and people to whom they talked when they had problems. Three patterns of psychological problems emerged: internalized distress, alcohol abuse, and dysfunctional eating. Neither levels of psychological problems nor stress had much of a relationship to self-reported talking, although internalized distress predicted talking to a counselor. Gender, international student status, ethnicity, full-time versus part-time status, and major predicted talking to help sources. Females acknowledged talking more frequently, but genders showed the same preferences for help sources. The results raise issues of helping students, particularly those with alcohol abuse or eating problems, through either arenas or personnel which are nontraditional.


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