Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Schuyler W. Huck

Committee Members

P. Gary Klukken, Olga M. Welch, Debora R. Baldwin


This study explored the attitudes of mental health utilization by African American female students at a Predominantly White Institution (PWI). Because African American females have been found to underutilize mental health services, particularly those provided by the university, the study’s goals were to explore participants’ beliefs related to (a) treatment efficacy, (b) barriers to seeking mental health services, and (c) counselor preferences. The data from this study were analyzed using a modified grounded theory approach to identify participant attitudes regarding the utilization of mental health services. The findings resulted in the development of a theory of mental health utilization. In addition, recommendations, based on the data from the study, are provided for the following three entities: (a) mental health professionals, (b) university counseling centers, and (c) mental health-related training programs.

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