Methods: Participants were 227 college students, 62.9% female, with a mean age of 21.71 (SD = 6.23) from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds (.8% Native American, 19% Asian, 23% Black, 18.1% Latinx, .8% Middle Eastern/North African, 21% White, 13.7% Multiracial/Multiethnic). Students were surveyed regarding their personal and perceived campus attitudes towards psychological help-seeking and self-compassion. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to examine the impact of perceived campus attitudes and self-compassion on personal attitudes, controlling for age, gender, and race. Logistic regression analyses were then conducted to predict psychological help-seeking behaviors among students that endorsed experiencing mental health concerns.
Results: Both perceived campus attitudes towards psychological help-seeking (β = .50, p < .001) and self-compassion (β = .18, p = .006) positively predicted personal attitudes. Furthermore, self-compassion moderated the impact of perceived campus attitudes on personal attitudes (β = -.13, p = .053), such that higher self-compassion buffered the impact of perceived campus attitudes. While 82.3% of the sample endorsed experiencing mental health concerns, only 38.7% reported seeking support. Neither personal attitudes towards psychological help seeking nor self-compassion significantly predicted help-seeking behaviors. Race, however, significantly predicted likelihood of seeking psychological support, such that students who were Asian (OR = -1.36, p = .008), Black (OR = -1.71, p = .001), Latinx (OR = -1.10, p = .042), and Multiracial/Multiethnic (OR = -1.13, p = .037) were significantly less likely to have sought psychological support.
Conclusions: While perceived campus attitudes and self-compassion impact personal attitudes towards psychological help-seeking, they do not predict actual help-seeking behaviors. Instead, race surfaces as a significant predictor, suggesting systemic, rather than personal stigma, barriers to mental health treatment.