Date of Award

January 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling Psychology & Community Services

First Advisor

Cindy Juntunen


This study assessed relationships between mental illness stigma (public stigma (Vogel, Wade & Ascheman, 2009) and private stigma (Vogel, Wade & Haake, 2006)), mental health literacy (Mental Health Literacy Survey (MHLS; Epps et al. 2007) and Symptom Recognition Scale, (SRS)), and psychological help-seeking (Attitudes towards Seeking Professional Psychological Help Scale and Intentions via LSHS) in a rural population. Two-hundred three adults living in rural and urbanized counties within a rural Midwestern state completed paper and online surveys. Stepwise hierarchical regression analyses showed that private stigma, mental health literacy, and previous help-seeking behavior predicted attitudes towards seeking professional help while symptom recognition and previous help-seeking behavior were important predictors of intentions to seek help, relative to other factors. Mental health literacy did not moderate the relationships between stigma variables and help-seeking variables and previous help-seeking did not act as a mediator in the relationship between mental health literacy variables and help-seeking variables. Public stigma did not contribute significant variance to help-seeking attitudes and intentions. Support for private stigma reduction was garnered. Overall, findings support the role of mental health literacy in improving intentions to seek professional help.