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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Examining the relationships between causal beliefs, colonial mentality, treatment credibility, and help-seeking intentions among Filipinos Lingbaoan, Jennifer


One challenge of prescribing mental health counselling as a global remedy lies in its roots: counselling was developed and shaped primarily by Western culture and is based upon certain underlying culturally-influenced beliefs about the causes of psychological distress and how to treat it. It is reasonable to wonder then about its appropriateness in non-Western contexts and with non-Western individuals. Filipinos, for one, experience relatively high rates of mental health issues and yet are less likely to utilize Western-developed professional mental health services such as counselling. Currently, there is still limited empirical research conducted on how Filipino people’s cultural beliefs about mental distress and their endorsement of colonial mentality (CM), a form of internalized oppression that entails devaluing one’s own culture in favour of that which is Euro American or Western, might influence their perceptions of counselling as a credible healing practice and ultimately, their intentions towards seeking counselling. This study is premised upon Frank and Frank’s (1993) theory about the mechanisms of change in healing practices around the world and asserts that all healing practices share common features that lend to their efficacy. One such feature is a rationale that explains an individual’s presenting issues and informs what rituals or procedures are needed to relieve their symptoms. Accordingly, if the rationale aligns well with one’s cultural beliefs, an individual may be more likely to view that practice as credible and are more likely to seek out said treatment. A final sample of 342 Filipino adults who currently reside in the Philippines were included in this study. Multiple regression analyses were conducted with CM and three causal belief categories (stress, supernatural, non-Western physiology) as the primary predictors, respectively, treatment credibility (TC) as a mediator and predictor, and help-seeking intentions as the outcome variable. The results indicate that the three types of causal beliefs and CM were not statistically significant direct predictors of intent. In contrast, TC was found to not only be a significant predictor of help-seeking intentions but also significantly mediated the relationship between stress causal beliefs and supernatural causal beliefs with help-seeking intentions, respectively.

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