Title

An examination of self-construal, gender, and attitudes toward seeking professional psychological help, between Eritrean immigrant and American college students

Date of Completion

January 2001

Keywords

Education, Bilingual and Multicultural|Education, Educational Psychology|Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies|Education, Higher

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

The present exploratory study examined the relationships among self-construal, gender, and attitudes toward seeking professional psychological help between Eritrean immigrant and American college students. The sample consisted of 133 predominantly White American and 125 Eritrean immigrant college students from Africa. All participants completed a demographic questionnaire, the Self-Construal Scale (Singelis, 1994), and the Attitudes toward Seeking Professional Psychological Help Scale (Fischer & Turner, 1970). A factorial MANOVA and six standard multiple regressions, three regressions for each group, were performed. ^ Results from factorial MANOVA indicated that there was an overall significant interaction effect of ethnicity (Eritrean or American) by gender. Further, two main effects were found. Ethnicity and gender had an overall significant effect on the three dependent measures. A follow-up univariate analysis showed that the interaction effect was most salient for the measure of Attitudes toward Seeking Psychological Help. Tests of simple effects pair wise differences (Green, Salkind & Akey, 2000) indicated contrary to the findings in the current research literature, American female participants on average tended to rate themselves as having less favorable attitudes toward seeking psychological help than did Eritrean female participants. Moreover, contrary to major findings, results also indicated that American female participants on average tended to rate themselves as having less favorable attitudes toward seeking professional psychological help than did the American male participants. No significant differences were found between American and Eritrean male participants or between Eritrean female and Eritrean male participants. ^ Follow-up univariate analyses of the two main effects showed that ethnicity had a significant effect on the interdependent self-construal, while gender had a significant effect on the independent self-construal. Eritrean participants rated themselves as more interdependent with the collective, than did American participants. Males, regardless of ethnicity rated themselves as being more independent from the collective. These findings are consistent with the theory of self-construal. Of the six standard multiple regression analysis, only one model (gender, age and college level) significantly predicted American participants' attitudes toward seeking psychological services. In this research gender had greater predictive effect. ^