This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Mental Health Related Stereotype Threat, Self-Stigma, and African-American College Students’ Willingness to Seek Counseling




Huffstead, Romero

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Special Education, Rehabilitation, Counseling


A substantial amount of literature has shown that there are a number of academic, cognitive, and physiological outcomes associated with stereotype threat including underperformance, academic stress/fatigue, anxiety, academic withdrawal, and memory impairment. African-Americans have a relatively low rate of seeking counseling services and it is conceivable that some aspects of stereotype threat may be involved. While there has not been much research on the factors that influence African-Americans from seeking mental health counseling, a new body of research has emerged assessing how health-related stereotype threat may affect whether individuals seek medical/preventative treatment and schedule regular physical examination appointments. This research has provided another perspective on the wide array of consequences resulting from stereotype threat. In the current study, 74 African-American college students recruited via emails to college organizations, listservs, and social media platforms completed an online survey that assessed self-stigma and mental health-related stereotype threat as predictors of willingness to seek counseling. Through hierarchical regression analyses, the research found that self-stigma was a significant predictor of willingness to seek counseling while mental-health related stereotype threat was not. However, when self-stigma and mental health-related stereotype threat were used together, they accounted for more variance together than by themselves.