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Incarcerated Black Male Psychological Help-seeking Intentions: A Convergent Mixed Method Design

Jessica M Tate, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The purpose of this convergent parallel mixed methods study was to fill the gap in the literature by examining incarcerated Black males’ intentions to engage in help-seeking behaviors in general and for mental health reasons once released into the community. In the quantitative phase of the study, 144 currently incarcerated Black males completed survey measures, which examined the predictive relationships between age, gender role conflict, self-stigma, attitudes towards mental health treatment, and intentions to seek counseling in the community. Results from the quantitative phase revealed that older participants endorsed more positive attitudes towards mental health treatment and that age was a significant predictor of attitudes. The present sample endorsed moderate attitudes towards mental health treatment and moderate levels of gender role conflict. Participants reported low levels of self-stigma and self-stigma was found to be a significant predictor of attitudes towards mental health treatment. Contrary to expectations, gender role conflict was found to positively predict help-seeking intentions. Finally, participants reported between “Doubtful” and “Possible” intentions of seeking counseling once released into the community, which are noticeably low intentions. The purpose of the qualitative phase was to explore the lived experiences of incarcerated Black males and to examine the psychological help-seeking behaviors among participants who endorsed low help-seeking intentions in the quantitative phase of the study. For the qualitative strand, 13 semi-structured individual interviews were completed and findings revealed several major themes including: (a) Defining Black masculinity; (b) Seeking help; (c) Barriers to seeking help; (d) Reasons willing to seek help; (e) Informal sources of support; (f) and Re-entry concerns. Interview participants’ unique viewpoints and the overall themes that emerged helped to provide an understanding of the reasons why incarcerated Black males may or may not engage in counseling services in the community after incarceration. With the large number of offenders returning to society it is imperative that correctional and community mental health professionals understand the unique experiences and obstacles many of these Black men encounter daily and during the re-entry period to ensure culturally sensitive and competent treatment is being provided.

Subject Area

Counseling Psychology

Recommended Citation

Tate, Jessica M, "Incarcerated Black Male Psychological Help-seeking Intentions: A Convergent Mixed Method Design" (2018). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI10845403.