Date of Award
Campus Access Dissertation
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Increasing numbers of students are entering college with a mental health diagnosis, and many more students experience mental health issues for the first time as a part of their college experience. Understanding how students perceive their distress and access support is critical for supporting student success. The purpose of this project was: a) to investigate the meaning and influence of a diagnosis of depression on problem identification processes of first year college students and b) to examine how the diagnostic experience and the discourse of diagnosis impacts the students’ help-seeking pathways. In order to explore this issue, a convergent parallel mixed method design involving a quantitative survey analysis and a qualitative interview analysis was used with a sample from a single public institution. While survey results supported that certain students have accessed diagnosis and formal treatment, the qualitative analysis suggested that help-seeking pathways are varied. Experiences of receiving a diagnosis led to increased trust in services for some individuals, whereas others felt unheard and dissatisfied with formal treatment. Survey results suggest that for some students, help-seeking within informal support networks and through alternative services may precede or even replace steps toward formal treatment. Implications of these results for clinicians and researchers, as well as social justice implications, are discussed.
Wheeler, Emily E., "I Said, They Said: The Role of Diagnosis in the Help-Seeking Pathways of College Students" (2017). Graduate Doctoral Dissertations. 285.
Free and open access to this Campus Access Dissertation is made available to the UMass Boston community by ScholarWorks at UMass Boston. Those not on campus and those without a UMass Boston campus username and password may gain access to this dissertation through resources like Proquest Dissertations & Theses Global or through Interlibrary Loan. If you have a UMass Boston campus username and password and would like to download this work from off-campus, click on the "Off-Campus UMass Boston Users" link above.