Oral Paper Presentation

Help-Seeking Behavior of Male College Basketball Players: Context, Process, Barriers, and Intervention

Ramon Eduardo Gustilo Villasor, Sr., Ph.D., RP, R.G.C., CSCOP, CSDP
De La Salle University – Manila
Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP)
Oral Paper Presentation
August 2010

FINDINGS

  1. Help-seeking among student-athletes occurs when a problem is too difficult to handle.
  2. The help-seeking process among Filipino student-athletes involves approaching informal sources of help once a concern/problem is recognized.
  3. The Filipino student-athlete appears to follow the strong-and-silent masculine gender role script or tough-guy script (Mahalik et al., 2003).
  4. Student-athletes are more comfortable approaching informal sources of help rather than professional mental health practitioners. Informal sources such as parents, close friends, and siblings are their primary preferred helpers. The least likely to be approached for help are professional help-givers like faculty, religious members, and counselors.
  5. The barriers to help-seeking for student-athletes are more internal (e.g., win-at-all- cost philosophy, time management, social stigma, debasing potential concerns, lack of transportation to the counseling venue) than external (e.g., barriers created by the athletic department and the University).

PROBLEM STATEMENT

This study explored the help-seeking behavior of male college basketball players, the context in which it takes place, the process involved in seeking help, the specific barriers to help-seeking and the possible intervention that would facilitate help-seeking.  Specifically, this study answered the following questions:

  1. What is the context in which help-seeking behavior occurs among male college basketball players? (Concept of help-seeking; Typical problems; Frequency of seeking help; Preferred helpers and their qualities; and Venue for help-seeking)
  2. What is the process involved in seeking help?
  3. What are the barriers to seeking help? (Internal and External barriers)
  4. Based on the responses, what intervention can be introduced to facilitate help-seeking behavior among student-athletes?
  5. What is the result of the pilot run of the intervention to promote help-seeking behavior? (Barriers to help-seeking before and after; Feedback of participants)

THEORY

  • This study looked into the help-seeking behavior of male basketball players from different colleges and universities in Metro Manila. Specifically, it looked into the context, process, barriers, and interventions in help-seeking behavior.
  • It was guided by the help- seeking model originally proposed by Srebnik, Cauce, and Baydar (1996). For the purpose of this study, modifications were introduced to include context, barriers, and interventions.

Help-Seeking Behavior

  • Cauce et al. (2002) defined help-seeking as a process that “is most likely to occur when a mental health problem is recognized as undesirable and when it is deemed not apt to go way on its own.”
  • It is a three-stage interchangeable process, which involves problem recognition, the decision to seek help, and the selection of the help provider, since each step in this model can be influenced by culture and context.
  • The help-seeking pathways model of Srebnik, Cauce, and Baydar (1996) was inspired by the earlier work of Anderson and Newman (1973), Goldsmith, Jackson, and Hough (1988), and Pescosolido (1992).
  • Cauce et al. (2002) believed that the key to understanding the needs of a client should start at the onset of the help-seeking process.

Context

  • Defined as the background stimuli that accompany some kind of foreground event.  In this study, it pertains to the concept of help-seeking among the student-athletes; their problems, which prompt them to seek help; preferred helpers and qualities; frequency of seeking help; and venue for seeking help.

Process

  • Process is operationally defined in this study as the procedure involved in seeking help. The three-stage interchangeable process proposed by Cauce et al. (2002) was used in this study.

Barriers in Help-Seeking Behavior

  • The working definition and description of barriers were adapted from Mansfield et al. (2005) for this study. The authors described barriers as “the variables, which are identified as obstacles to seeking help for physical or mental health problems.” In this study, barriers were classified into two categories: internal and external.

Intervention

  • Describes the proposed program that will facilitate help-seeking behavior for either the student-athlete or preferred helper based on the study’s findings.

RESULTS

Concept of Help Seeking Behavior

  • Definition: “Seeking help for a problem that cannot be individually solved.” (N = 58; 53%)

Typical Problems

Student-Athletes/Preferred Help-Givers

  • Time Management (67%/21%) & Lack of Funds (50%/21%) (Personal Problems)
  • Academic Concerns (65%/32%) (Academic Problems)
  • Fatigued/Lack of rest (19%/11%) (Athletic Problems)

Frequency of Seeking Help in Six Months

  • “Five or more times” (N = 60; 65%)

Preferred Help Givers

  • Parents (84%)
  • Friend(s) (76%)
  • Brother(s)/Sister(s) (55%)

Preferred Qualities of a Help-Giver

  • Experienced (45%/21%)
  • Approachable (36%/26%)
  • Open-Minded (32%/5%)
  • Trustworthy (27%/5%)
  • Comforting (12%/16%)

Venue for Help-Seeking

Private Venues

  • House (56%/11%)
  • Phone (16%/0%)
  • General (14%/11%)

Public Venues

  • Cell Phone/Text/Anywhere (28%/5%)
  • School (18%/5%)
  • Basketball court (3%/32%)
  • Meals/Dining area (1%/21%)

Process: Help-Seeking Behavior

  • Problem Recognition –> Service Selection (55%)
  • Problem Recognition –> Decision to Seek Help (12%)

Barriers: Help-Seeking Behavior

  • Win-at-all-cost-philosophy (67%)
  • Social Stigma (45%)

Barriers according to the Barriers to Help Seeking Scale (BHSS)

  • 3 of the 5 factors received mean ratings of 2 plus which means that they are fairly important reasons not to seek help.
  • Factor 4: Privacy, with a mean score of 2.115, was seen as the primary barrier, Factor 2: Minimizing Problem and Resignation (2.086), and Factor 1: Need for Control and Self-Reliance (2.012).

Suggestions to Encourage Student-Athletes to Seek Help

  • Encourage them not to be too proud, shy, or scared in approaching others (33%/16%)
  • Give advice and encouragement (20%/11%)
  • Have a program on communicating/counseling athletes (0%/21%).

DISCUSSION

Process: Help-Seeking Behavior

  • Cauce, et al. (2002) defined help-seeking as a process that “is most likely to occur when a mental health problem is recognized as undesirable and when it is deemed not apt to go way on its own.”
  • It is a three-stage interchangeable process, which involves problem recognition (PR), the decision to seek help (DTSH), and the selection of the help provider (SS) as each step in this model can be influenced by culture and context.
  • In this study, there were several categories that emerged in the help-seeking process.  Among the types, (2) PR –> SS (60%); (3) PR –> DTSH (12%); (1) PR –> DTSH –> SS (7%); (4) DTSH –> SS (3%); (5) PR –> Solve Problem Independently (3%).
  • Type 6 & 7 were considered as “unique” types as they involve the influence of prayer.
  • Type 6 (PR –> Prayer –> SS) involved initially determining the concern, praying for guidance, then deciding whom he would seek help from.  While Type 7 (PR –> Prayer) focused more on identifying the presenting issue then praying for divine intervention.

Barriers: Help-Seeking Behavior

  • The study used Mansfield et al. (2005) 54-item Barriers to Help Seeking Scale (BHSS).
  • The authors developed items based on literature in the areas of gender-role strain and gender-role conflict. Based on these findings, an inventory of potential barriers to help-seeking was constructed to identify the “reason a person might choose not to seek help for a problem.”

UNIQUE CONTRIBUTION

Working Definition

  • Concept of help-seeking; Typical problems; Frequency of seeking help; Preferred helpers and their qualities; and Venue for help-seeking.

Program Manual

  • Program was designed to enhance help-seeking behavior and practices among collegiate basketball student-athletes who participate in the UAAP and NCAA tournaments.
  • Program focuses on reducing deterrent help-seeking behavior through the use of psychoeducation and role induction (anticipatory socialization).
  • Reduce inhibitions by providing the student-athletes with knowledge of the subject, communication skills, and time management strategies.
  • This program can be modified to accommodate other sports.

THANK YOU!

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