Date of Award

Summer 2006

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Saunders, Stephen

Second Advisor

Wierzbicki, Michael

Third Advisor

Grych, John


This study provided an in-depth examination of the critical factors that influence barriers to community mental health service use and treatment attrition among a low-income sample of minority women. Minorities' barriers to help-seeking were divided into three categories: person-related barriers (e.g., "Feeling embarrassed that you have a problem"), treatment-related barriers (e.g., "Lack of adequate transportation to get to treatment"), and culture-related barriers (e.g., "Thinking that mental health professionals will not be able to provide you with effective services because of cultural differences"). The current study also explored the association between barriers to help-seeking and respondents' symptomatology, problem duration, distress level, and level of impairment at intake. The association between previous treatment experience, reported barriers, perceived need, and facilitating factors (e.g., being court-ordered for treatment) on treatment attrition (defined as dropping out of treatment within one month) was examined. Barriers to help-seeking predicted respondents' mental health symptomatology, distress level, and level of impairment at intake, as well as the length of time problem existed prior to seeking help. Twenty-five percent of study participants had dropped out at one month follow-up. The Cultural-Related Barriers scale was the only significant predictor of treatment attrition, which correctly classified 94.1% of the Non dropouts and 25.0% of the Dropouts (74.65% overall). Study implications and future directions in the area of minority mental health are discussed.



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