Date of Conferral
Within the Orthodox Jewish (OJ) community, there is a hesitation among those in need of mental health services to seek treatment, primarily due to stigmatized views toward mental illness. The theory grounding this study was Goffman's theory of social stigma, which defines social stigma as the result of an attribute, behavior, or reputation being discredited by others in a way that puts a person or group of people in an undesirable light. The purpose of this study was to examine the reasons underlying negative attitudes toward mental health treatment in the OJ community by examining variables that might explain those attitudes. The variables examined included stigma, familiarity with mental health treatment, endorsement of OJ marriage structure and family system, geography, and age. Data on these variables were collected from a sample of 83 OJ adults using quantitative surveys, including the Attitudes toward Seeking Professional Psychological Help Scale-Short Form, the Self-Stigma of Seeking Help Scale, the Family/Marriage Stigma Scale, and the Parental Influence on Mate Choice Scale. Using multiple regression analysis, results suggested that stigma was a significant predictor of negative attitudes towards seeking mental health services. The OJ marriage structure was a trend towards a significance predictor of negative attitudes towards seeking mental health services. However, familiarity with mental health treatment, endorsement of the OJ marriage family system, geography, and age did not significantly predict negative attitudes towards seeking mental health services. This study can effect positive social change by providing community organizations and activists a better understanding of the risk factors to help them improve the attitudes towards seeking mental health services within the community.