Date of Conferral







Patti Barrows


African Americans have a higher proclivity to depression than other ethnic groups in the United States and also have a greater propensity to avoid seeking professional mental health treatment. The available research has shown that racial and cultural barriers such as perceived discrimination and self-concealment are the primary factors that negatively affect African Americans' attitudes toward mental health itself and mental health treatment. Perceived discrimination and self-concealment may also negatively affect whether African Americans seek help for depression and from whom, but further investigation was needed. The quantitative survey study provided answers to which factors influence whether and where African Americans seek help for major depression. A total of 147 participants were recruited through word of mouth, local churches, community organizations, and virtual venues such as electronic mail and social media. Multivariate analysis of variance revealed the mean scores of African Americans' use of natural supports and their use of outpatient treatment (dependent variables) were not equal across all levels of their self-concealment, perceived discrimination, and depressive symptoms (independent variables). Multivariate analysis of covariance revealed that the mean scores remained the same when controlling for gender, income, education, and relationship status (covariates). The results suggest that the latter factors influence African Americans' decisions on where to seek help for depression regardless of their gender and socioeconomic status. Increasing the propensity of African Americans to seek professional help for depression should improve the mental health of the population as a whole and reduce the incidents of serious mental illness of those who are treated.