Emerging Adults Delay Mental Illness Treatment: Another Manifestation of Experiential Avoidance?

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Emerging adulthood is a term coined to recognize 18 to 25 year-olds who engage in self-exploration while not yet fully identifying as adults. Many emerging adult college students experience stress, anxiety, and depression. Although many colleges provide affordable and available mental health resources for students, many students who need help appear to not utilize these services. Gaining greater understanding of underlying processes that influence psychological treatment-seeking behavior is imperative. The current study sought to explore the role experiential avoidance (EA) plays as a treatment-seeking barrier in the context of emerging adulthood. Undergraduate students completed online measures of emerging adulthood dimensions, ... continued below

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Hulsey, Teresa May 2017.

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  • Hulsey, Teresa

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Emerging adulthood is a term coined to recognize 18 to 25 year-olds who engage in self-exploration while not yet fully identifying as adults. Many emerging adult college students experience stress, anxiety, and depression. Although many colleges provide affordable and available mental health resources for students, many students who need help appear to not utilize these services. Gaining greater understanding of underlying processes that influence psychological treatment-seeking behavior is imperative. The current study sought to explore the role experiential avoidance (EA) plays as a treatment-seeking barrier in the context of emerging adulthood. Undergraduate students completed online measures of emerging adulthood dimensions, psychological symptoms, EA, self-stigma of, perceived public stigma of, intentions to, and attitudes and beliefs towards seeking treatment, treatment seeking behavior, and a demographics questionnaire. Binomial hierarchical logistic regressions and correlational analyses examined the relationship of EA and treatment-seeking behaviors, accounting for known barriers and emerging adult characteristics.
After controlling for demographic variables, results indicated that EA was significantly positively correlated with self-stigma (r = .187), p < .001), perceived public stigma (r = .178, p < .001), intentions (r - .207, p < .001), psychological symptoms (r = .713, p < .001), and attitudes and beliefs (r = .009, p = .003). These and other findings are discussed further, along with the study limitations and implications, as well as possible future directions for work in this area.

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  • May 2017

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • July 12, 2017, 3:17 a.m.

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  • Nov. 28, 2017, 7:25 p.m.

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Hulsey, Teresa. Emerging Adults Delay Mental Illness Treatment: Another Manifestation of Experiential Avoidance?, thesis, May 2017; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc984198/: accessed May 27, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .