Date of Award

10-22-2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Derek Hatfield, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Tara Johnson, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Laurie Roehrich, Ph.D.

Abstract

Older adults have been found to underutilize mental health services. Limited research has focused on older adults' attitudes toward psychotherapy. Eighty-six older adults participated in this study, which investigated age group differences (e.g., young old versus older old) in older adults' attitudes toward psychotherapy and willingness to seek help. The effect of previous experience with psychotherapy on attitudes and willingness to seek help was also examined. Results indicated that younger groups were more likely to hold positive attitudes toward psychotherapy, and were more willing to seek services. Younger groups of adults were also more likely to have had a previous experience with mental health treatment, and prior experience with psychotherapy was found to have a positive effect on attitudes. Younger groups were more willing than older groups to seek psychotherapy services when barriers to treatment (e.g., transportation and financial barriers) were removed.

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