Bypassing the waitlist: examining barriers and facilitators of help-line utilization among college students with depression symptoms
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Background: A large number of U.S. college students suffer from depression symptoms, yet existing resources cannot match the demand.Aims: This study identified the psychological determinants of utilizing a help-line and examined potential barriers in order to inform effective help-line promotion.Participants: Four hundred and six undergraduate students (18-29 years) completed a survey at a large Southern United States university between January and May 2018.Methods: The survey assessed depression symptoms (PHQ9), whether students were aware of the help-line they had access to, stigma beliefs about depression/suicide, stigma of seeking help (SSOSH), predictors of intention to utilize the help-line (RAT) and behavioral approach and avoidance motivation (BIS/BAS).Results: Students showed mild symptoms of depression (M = 6.60, SD = 5.13) and knew about the help-line (74.8%), but expressed low intentions to use it (M = 1.5, SD = 0.97; 7-pt scale). Depression symptoms influenced the strength of association between determinants and intentions to use a help-line (β = 0.25, p < 0.001). Participants with depression symptoms were also more likely to endorse adverse beliefs about depression/suicide (β = 0.11, p = 0.025).Conclusion: Help-lines should be promoted by activating and reinforcing positive outcome expectations. Health campaigns should also address adverse beliefs in this population.
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